Annie Dillard. Bio Essay

Topics: Annie Dillard, Hollins University, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Pages: 9 (1506 words) Published: April 16, 2013


10060 SE 149TH LANE



APRIL 3, 2013




Annie Dillard started out her writing career misunderstood but admirable. Dillard became

well known after her first published book, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ won the 1974 ‘Pulitzer Prize

for General nonfiction at age 29. She received many complaints on her first novel such as, “not

one genuine ecological concern is voiced in the entire book,” critics state. (Begiebing) Dillard’s

reputation has exceeded what was once known as boring and unsatisfactory to one of admiration.

In a review of ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’ Hayden Carruth states, “In many respects to Annie

Dillard’s book, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’ is so ingratiating that even readers who find

themselves in fundamental disagreement with it may take pleasure from it, a good deal of

pleasure.” (Carruth) Indeed Carruth is correct. Dillard’s creativity with and in nature puts us in

awe. Her writing is abhorrent and yet so beautiful. In 1971 Dillard stumbled upon an old writer’s

nature book and thought, “I can do better than this.” (Dillard) In 1968, Dillard spent a few years,

following her graduation, by oil painting, writing, and keeping a journal. This journal is how

many of her first poems and short stories were published In this journal, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker

Creek’ slowly started it’s well known novel. Dillard began her writing career as a young adult

attending Hollins College (now Hollins University). Dillard studied literature and creative

writing which motivated her to read classic novels as well as many books that humanity has

promised themselves to read in the future, but never got around to it. After spending some time

in college, Dillard married her writing teacher, the poet R.H.W. Dillard. In college, I learned how

to learn from other people. As far as I was concerned, writing in college didn’t consist of what

little Annie had to say, but what Wallace Stevens had to say. I didn’t come to college to think my

own thoughts; I came to college to learn what had been thought.” (Dillard) Like many other

creations in life, her writing began with a simple thought…

At the end of the island I noticed a small green frog. He was exactly half in and half out of

the water, looking like a schematic diagram of an amphibian, and he didn’t jump. He didn’t

jump; I crept closer. At last I knelt on the island’s winter killed grass, lost, dumbstruck, staring at

the frog in the creek just four feet away. He was a very small frog with wide, dull eyes. And just

as I looked at him, he slowly crumpled and began to sag. The spirit vanished from his eyes as if

snuffed. His skin emptied and drooped; his very skull seemed to collapse and settle like a kicked

tent. He was shrinking before my eyes like a deflating football. I watched the taut, glistening skin

on his shoulders ruck, and rumple, and fall. Soon, part of his skin, formless as a pricked balloon,

lay in floating folds like bright scum on top of the water; it was a monstrous and terrifying thing.

I gaped bewildered, appalled. An oval shadow hung in the water behind the drained frog; then

the shadow glided away. The frog skin bag started to sink. I had read about the giant water bug,

but never seen one. “Giant water bug” is really the name of the creature, which is an enormous,

heavy-bodied brown bug. It eats insects, tadpoles, fish, and frogs. Its grasping forelegs are

mighty and hooked inward. It seizes a victim with these legs, hugs it tight, and paralyzes it with

enzymes injected during a vicious bite. That one bite is the only bite it ever takes. Through the

puncture shoot the poisons that dissolve the victim’s muscles and bones and organs – all but the

skin – and through it the giant...

Cited: 1. Elliott, Sandra S. "Annie Dillard Biography." Annie Dillard Biography. Rob Anderson, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.
2. Krishnamurti, J. "The Beauty of Death as Part of Life." J.Krishnamurti Online. Krishnamurti Foundation, Sept. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.
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