Essay of an American Childhood

Topics: Annie Dillard, Catch-22 Pages: 1 (271 words) Published: June 2, 2007
In Annie Dillard's excerpt from her autobiography, "An American Childhood", she portrays not only the exact moment when every child experiences undulated joy, but also the understanding that they may never have this feeling again. She begins with an explanation of the "fine" (16) sport of football to convey the importance of courage and fearlessness. She states that "if you fl[ing] yourself wholeheartedly" (16) into this sport then "nothing girls [do can] compare with it" (17). Since she could not play football or her other love, baseball, in winter there was the allure of throwing snowballs at cars which were "targets all but wrapped in red ribbons, cream puffs" (17). Reynolds Street is the setting in which the neighborhood kids go "looking for action" (17). When the black Buick was hit on the windshield Dillard describes the design of the snowball so vividly, we can see the driver peeking through, "a smashed star with a hump in the middle" (17). To her surprise this "thin man, all action" (18) was actually determined to catch them and here lies her admiration for him. She realizes that he approaches life as she does, "fling[ing] yourself at what you're doing," to "forget yourself" (18). Once he catches them he changes from "our pursuer, our captor," to "our hero" (19) as he admonishes them out of necessity. The chase allowed her to give everything she had and for that there is nothing Dillard admires more then the passion that "this sainted, skinny, furious, redheaded man" (19) displayed. Therein lays the glory and happiness that cannot last forever.

*Reading Critcally: Writing Well
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