Annie Dillard

Topics: Death, Universe, Emotion Pages: 2 (499 words) Published: March 8, 2010
“Taking our century’s measure,” for Dillard, means taking count and reminding us of all the unfortunate events that have occurred in the past. She seeks to find out how we deal with news of the death of thousands in a natural disaster many miles away. Of course the answer to that is different for each person. Perhaps Dillard wishes for us to help out and make the world a better place in our own, unique ways. For me personally though, natural disasters that occur around the world do not greatly affect me. Joseph Stalin’s statement, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic,” is how I feel. 138,000 people drowning in Bangladesh just seems like this big number. The only way I would be affected by an incident like this is if I had known someone who lost their life in the incident. Dillard makes a strong argument about “our century.” She feels that our generation is the one to make a difference. She relates our lives to the sea: “We see generations of waves rise from the sea that made them, billions of individuals at a time; we see them dwindle and vanish. If this does not astound you, what will? Or what will move you to pity?” She is saying that many generations, centuries, and lives have come and go. They have done everything that they were able to do and now it is our job. Our century is the one that will make a big difference. “Since sand and dirt pile up on everything, why does the world look fresh for each new crowd? As natural and human debris raises the continents, vegetation grows on the piles. It is all a stage – we know this – a temporary stage on top of many layers of stages, but every year a new crop of sand, grass, and tree leaves freshens the set and perfects the illusion that ours is the new and urgent world to know.” Here, Dillard once again supports her argument about “our century.” The people of the past had contributed to the world the best way they could. They did things to the best of their ability. However, they fell a bit...
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