Annie Dillard's 'This is the Life': Rhetorical Analysis

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“This is the Life” by Annie Dillard
In “This is the Life” by Annie Dillard, Dillard uses a dominant magnanimous tone and she switches between a mocking tone and a provocative tone to express that humans nowadays take their lives for granted and they do not realize that not everyone in the world has such an easy life. Dillard does a tremendous job on describing the lives of humans in the past and the present, mapping out scenarios describing the “easy life” during a certain time period. As well as trying to get the reader to appreciate what they have in life, she also reminds us of how we need to challenge our worldview. Her overall magnanimous tone is demonstrated in every single analogy she makes, which is, every single paragraph. She carries this tone through the ways that she describe how nice life is in a certain time period. Her provocative tone comes in when she tries to make the reader realize that the life she’s describing isn’t the ideal life. This is proven especially when she says “Or you take the next tribe’s pigs in thrilling raids; you grill yams; you trade for televisions and hunt white-plumed birds. Everyone you know agrees: this is the life.” She is explaining that this description was the ideal life in some point of time in the past and she is stimulating the audience to express how far life has improved since then. Her mocking tone comes in especially in the first paragraph where she is talking about how nice the life is now, the ideal life, the perfect life and right after she describes it, she becomes extremely blunt and says, “These are not universal. You enjoy work and will love your grandchildren, and somewhere in there you die.” Through her analogies, Annie Dillard portrays an overall magnanimous tone to show our need to appreciate our everyday lives now. On the contrary to the magnanimous tone though, she also uses a provocative and mocking tone to make the reader come to a realization of how good our lives are

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