Nature and Biblical Reference in Annie Dillard

Topics: Nature, Religion, Human Pages: 5 (1677 words) Published: January 8, 2009
Nature and Biblical Reference in Annie Dillard’s Writing
The Writing by Annie Dillard is very intriguing, she shows with no guidance from another source how people must see for themselves, so they can truly observe nature in its fullest. She often questions the very foundation of human existence. Annie Dillard also focuses on the creation and evolution and frequently questions God and his impact on the nature and human being. God appears a lot in her writing and Annie Dillard often shows her ambivalence toward God.

I would like to focus on the relationship between God, human being and nature and also try to explain the figure of God as Annie Dillard sees it and find a biblical reference in her writing which would be an example of God’s almightiness. Also, there is a conflict between Annie Dillard’s illusion of God, since her thoughts are not united in this topic and reader could get easily confused, whether she is devout or skeptical about God. In the next paragraph I would like to focus on Dillard’s use of the words God and god.

Annie Dillard often uses the word God or god in her writing, but God does not seem to be very positive figure. Even though Annie Dillard is a religious person and she attends church, she does not blindly celebrate God. She does not understand why there is all the suffering, when God is the all-powerful creator of the world. The answer she finds is, that pain and suffering are something similar to a megaphone trough which God sends his emotion to ordinary people. Sometimes reader may get confused by Annie Dillard’s use of the words God and god. God with capital G always refers to Jewish and Christian religion. God is always the God of the Bible and she also speaks of the God of Genesis who “makes the guarantee that there will be night and day and seasons of the year” (Dillard 90). But Annie Dillard refuses to believe that God can do everything. In her Seeing, she points out that God cannot prevent people from going blind, and as she sadly observes “we do need reminding, not of what God can do, but of what he cannot do”(Dillard 61). Annie Dillard always refers to God, when written with capital G, as to him. She always mentions his cruelty and doubts the possibility of God being a female figure, because she would not allow such sorrow.

God written with lower case g is not any less important figure. Annie Dillard refers to god or gods when she talks about natural gods or ancient Greek gods, also the every day miracles, such as a tree in the wind or bird caught by her cat. When it comes to the difference between God and god, it seems like the important difference is in godliness. When godliness becomes overwhelming Dillard always uses term God. Unlike god or gods, God participates in the natural processes and is a figure which could be blamed for the suffering. Next paragraph could be a description of the conflict between natural world and how ordinary person sees it and thinks of it.

Annie Dillard is often compared to romantic authors of the nineteenth century. She seems to be broken apart when it comes to thoughts of the Big Bang theory and the perception of Darwinian evolution and the world creation by God. Her scientific knowledge could be one of the reasons for her ambivalence toward God. As an example of cruelty in the world she uses animals, whose behavior is very incomprehensible to people. One of her examples is mating mantises, where the phenomenon of sexual cannibalism is very common. When mating the female mantis starts feeding herself with biting off the male’s head. The mating does not end and surprisingly it actually becomes even more vigorous. Annie Dillard is very interested in many kinds of zoological and botanical events and some parts of her work are related only to stories of eating. The law of nature is not the survival of the strongest individuals. Dillard thinks that it is more likely the matter of accident, luck or simply being in the right place at the right...

Bibliography: Primary sources:
Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. 1973. Rpt.
New York: Harper Collins
Dillard, Annie. For the Time Being. Knopf: 1999
Secondary sources:
Mitchell M. Harris. Masterplots II: Christian Literature.
Salem Press, 2008.
Ronda, Bruce A. Annie Dillard and The Fire of God. Christian Century
New York: 1983
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