Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seeing - Annie Dillard Literary Analysis


Literary Analysis

Annie Dillard was a renowned author who was able to capture the true meaning of life in her pieces. Seeing, one of her more famous pieces uses three key techniques that help prove her point to the reader that life is about appreciating the little things. Each technique that she uses adds to this point, and helps shape the piece into something amazing.

The first technique that she uses is the metaphor of the penny. She starts off this piece by writing about how when she was young, she would hide her own pennies for people to find. She would leave clues for them (although they weren’t very subtle), such as a sign saying “MONEY AHEAD.” Her point is that nobody gets excited about finding a single penny. They are the opposite; disappointed. When someone sees that sign, they are thinking at least a couple bucks, if not more, not one cent. This metaphor stands for how people react when it comes to things in real life as well. Humans need to appreciate the little things more. In reality, expectations are let down every day. If everyone would just focus on the small things more, life would be more enjoyable. This metaphor frames the entire piece. She begins with it, as well as ends with it, and the contents prove the metaphor.

Another technique that Dillard uses to help get her point across is her diction. In her piece Dillard creates very vivid images all by using certain words. She also tends to use active verbs. For example, in the first paragraph, she uses “hide,” “cradle,” “lurked,” “gripped,” etc. All of these verbs are able to generate strong images that won’t be forgotten. She also draws very powerful conclusions from the evidence that she has collected. There are a few statements throughout her piece that make the reader really think about them before moving on. For example, on page 261, she writes, “If we are blinded by darkness, we are also blinded by light.” She has a way of bringing together all of her thoughts into one sentence. However, these sentences are not simple. It takes time to figure out what she was thinking. The diction in this piece enhances her writing so that her point about enjoying the little things is always remembered.

The third technique that she uses is her unique style. Her style of writing is so much different than other writers I have seen in the past. The syntax is varied, and she uses incredible examples to support her thesis. For example, she used evidence from the study of the patients who had surgery so that they could see. That was very interesting, and it made the concept of appreciating the small things easier to understand now that she compared it to something tangible. Her sentence structure was also varied, and this allowed the readers to relax into the flow of writing more. She never uses the same structure twice in a row, and is always incorporating different vocabulary, as is stated in the previous paragraph. Overall, her writing is on a different level than other authors.

Dillard has produced exceptional pieces of work, which she does by incorporating certain techniques into her pieces. These techniques are able to emphasize her main points in an eloquent way. Seeing is an example of how diction, style and metaphors can work together to create something amazing. 

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