In the essay “Living Like Weasels”, Annie Dillard tells us how to live based on her observations and encounter with a weasel. From her experience, Dillard believes that living by the necessity of following instinct, and choosing to ignore outside forces, sets humanity to a greater and truer freedom. Even though “people take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience…” (Dillard 3), humanity can easily step back from these distractions—it is only a matter of choice.
Dillard describes her quiet and solitary “suburbia” as being only five minutes away from civilization. She describes the natural beauty of Hollins Pond in depth, but also describes the noticeable traces of humanity: beer cans under the bushes; motorcycle tracks woven into the ground; a highway that sits at one end of the pond. She seems to have observed that this “remarkable piece of shallowness” (Dillard 1) has over time, become tainted with the traces of humanity. She notices indications of worldly necessities, but chooses to do only that—notice. She decides not to indulge her notices into becoming unessential distractions. Most of humanity goes against that grain and accepts distractions to define them, afraid that without them, they may not have an identity. Dillard in fact uses her own power of choice to not let the traces of humanity keep her from seeing the true beauty of Hollins Pond. Dillard makes constant reference to the word “wild.” She begins her essay with the phrase, “A weasel is wild” (Dillard 1) and continues to describe the meaning of “wild” which eventually causes her to desire that characteristic. But her definition of wild becomes more sophisticated as she further observes the weasel. Before the weasel encounter, Dillard seems to think that a wild weasel has no sense of direction and purpose in life. But when that long glance between the two takes place, she comes to realize that people are not as free as they appear to be. This is both an upsetting, yet inspiring moment for...
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