TE First Sentence
It had been like dying, that sliding down the mountain pass.
TE Last Sentence
From the depths of mystery, and even from the heights of splendor, we bounce back and hurry for the latitudes of home.
TASTT First Sentence
The island where I live is peopled with cranks like myself. In a cedar-shake shack on a cliff - but we all live like this this - is a man in his thirties who lives alone with a stone he is trying to teach to talk.
TASTT Last Sentence
You take a step in the right direction to pray to this silence, and even address the prayer to "World.
" Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing.
OAHFA First Sentence
In Virginia, late one January afternoon while I had a leg of lamb in the oven, I took a short walk.
The idea was to exercise my limbs and rest my mind, but these things rarely work out as I plan.
OAHFA Last Sentence
It was dark, it was cold, and I had a roast in the oven, lamb, and I don't like it too well done.
LOTRTG First Sentence
First there was nothing, and although you know with your reason that nothing is nothing, it is easier to visualize it as a limitless slosh of sea - say, the Pacific.
LOTRTG Last Sentence
Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey - dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
S First Sentence
If survival is an art, then mangroves are artists of the beautiful: not only that they exist at all - smooth - barked, glossy - leaved, thickets of lapped mystery - but that they can and do exist as floating islands, as trees upright and loose, alive and homeless on the water.
S Last Sentence
It creates its own soil as it goes, rocking over the salt sea at random, rocking round the sun and out toward east of Hercules.
LLW First Sentance
A weasel is wild. Who knows what he thinks?
LLW Last Sentence
Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosed over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.
Total Eclipse Best for
Imagery and structure
Living Like Weasles Best for
Engaging narrative voice
Teaching A Stone To Talk Best for
Structure and imagery
On A Hill Far Away Best for
Characterization of others
Life On The Rocks The Galapagos Best for
Structure and descriptive language
Sounjor Best for
Strong sense of conclusion
Essays with reference to nature
Total Eclipse Living Like Weasels Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos Sojourner Teaching a Stone to Talk
Essays with reference to science
Total Eclipse Living Like Weasels Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos Sojourner Teaching a Stone to Talk
Essays with reference to spiritualism/God
On a Hill Far AwayTotal Eclipse Teaching a Stone to TalkSojourner
Essays that present challenging ideas/ that make the reader think about ideas/consider their beliefs
Teaching a Stone to TalkLiving Like Weasels Total Eclipse On a Hill Far AwaySojourner
Essays about travel/exploration
Total Eclipse Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos Sojourner On a Hill Far Away
Essays with discussion of the physical and metaphysical
Total Eclipse Teaching a Stone to Talk
Essays which feature people other than Dillard
On a Hill Far AwayLiving Like Weasels Teaching a Stone to Talk
Essays rich in imagery
Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos Total Eclipse Living Like Weasels Sojourner
Essays that include anecdote
Living Like WeaselsTeaching a Stone to TalkTotal Eclipse On a Hill Far AwayLife on the Rocks: The Galapagos
Essays with similar structures
ChaptersTeaching a Stone to TalkTotal Eclipse Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos
Total Eclipse Content-What is the essay about?
Dillard describes going to watch a total eclipse. She and her husband, Gary, stay overnight in a hotel then make their way to a hillside to watch the eclipse take place. After the eclipse, Annie and Gary go to a café and Dillard describes a conversation with a college boy who thinks the eclipse looked like a 'life-saver'.
Total Eclipse Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
A hotel in 'central Washington' (p9) USA in 'a town called Yakima' (p9) and the hills nearby. It is 'inland from the Washington coast' (p10)
Total Eclipse Characterization- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations.
The narrator is shown as highly observant and reflective.
She observes her surroundings in great detail. Her descriptions are precise, sense based and personal.We form the impression that Annie Dillard is religious as well as that she has scientific knowledge, some people believe in Science or God but she seeks both a physical and metaphysical understanding of the world, she is very intelligent.She interacts with her husband: "Gary was light years away, gesturing inside a circle of darkness, down the wrong end of the telescope"(p16) and she interacts with a college student: "Then somebody said something which threw me for a loop.
A college student ... said to us 'did you see that little white ring? It looked like a Life Saver. It looked like a Life Saver in the sky.
Total Eclipse Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
Nature- Dillard reflects of the wonders of nature, especially the sky "a piece of sky beside the crescent sun was detaching." (p17). "It does not appear to eat the sun; it is far behind the sun. The sun merely shaves away.
.." (p15)Spirituality- When the eclipse is in progress and she feels like it is the end of the world, she hopes God will save her. The reader can see Dillard's faith in God, "God save our life" (p15) 'the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, and God.' (p.24)Discovery- Dillard is interested in people, places and events.
The reader accompanies her on her journey of discovery. In this essay the discoveries are centred on the mysteries of the universe, "but I pray you will never see anything more awful than the sky" (p20) "The meaning of the sight overwhelmed fascination. It obliterated meaning itself." (p19) and also on the behaviour of people "If I had not read It was the moon- if, like most of the worlds people throughout time, I had simply glanced up and seen this thing-then I doubtless would not have speculated much, but would have, like Emperor Louis of Bavaria in 840, simply died of fright on the spot." (p19).
Other-The nature of memories- Dillard reflects on her imperfect memory. She recalls in minute detail a poster of a clown in the hotel but cannot remember other more important things (p.10).
Total Eclipse Structure - What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organized? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
The essay is written in chapters. The first chapter describes travelling to the eclipse and the hotel where Dillard stayed. The opening is quite tangential, moving from one idea to the next.
The second chapter focuses on a detailed description of the eclipse. It includes extended description of both sights and sounds. In the third chapter, Dillard reflects on her own experience of the eclipse, she also makes frequent use of the second person pronoun 'you', to refer both to the reader and herself- this creates a link between Dillard and the reader (p20). The fourth chapter is concerned with events after the eclipse. Dillard goes to a coffee shop where she talks with other eclipse watchers.
She also recalls the terror felt by those who watched the eclipse (p25). In the final part of chapter four, Dillard leaves the hotel and drives home. Although Dillard moves forward and back in time in her reflection on events, the essay is largely chronological. The reader accompanies Dillard on her journey to the eclipse and experiences her encounters through her vivid descriptions.
A sense of 'journey' is provided by the descriptions of travelling to the eclipse at the start and driving away at the end
Total Eclipse What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
Simile: The first sentence of the essay is arresting, "It had been like dying, that sliding down the mountain pass." (p.9) This use of a simile immediately interests the reader and draws them in to read the rest of the story. Imagery: The section describing the eclipse is rich in both visual and aural imagery as well as figurative language.
"The sky usually loses colour. This was a saturated, deep indigo, up in the air." (p16) aural imagery: "the heart screeched" (p19)Simile: "Their every detail...shone lightless and artificially distinct as an art photographer's platinum print" (p16), gives the impression that it is in the past, reiterates the abnormality of the eventRich colour imagery: "This was a saturated, deep indigo, up in the air" (p16) - depth of the colour, strangeness - the dark sky in the middle of the dayAural imagery: "People were fairly shouting and exchanging enthusiasms, like fans after a World Series game" (p23), shows the extraordinary quality of the event, includes the reader in the loud, crowded room full of excited people, reinforces the event
Total Eclipse What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
Comparing the ordinary with the extraordinary: She uses the ordinary to describe the extraordinary: "The sun was a wide crescent, like a segment of tangerine.
" (p15) This helps us so make sense of metaphysical things in relation to normal everyday things we are able to understand. And also the imagery creates and image of the eclipse and helps us understand why Dillard thought what she did of it. Dillard's personal reflections are interspersed with scientific information (p.21 and p.
25) creating a sense of authority as well as an insight into her desire for knowledge and understanding. "the Crab Nebula, in the constellation Taurus, looks through binoculars like a smoke ring" (p21) "... Like a perfectly still explosion, 4200 light years away: it was interesting and lovely and in witless motion and it had nothing to do with anything.
(p21) this characterises Annie Dillard to us, and shows us how knowledgeable she is and what she thinks about.Comparing the ordinary with the extraordinary: "The sky snapped over the sun like a lens cover" (p18), uses every day, simple language to describe a difficult, unusual eventPhysical and metaphysical link: "Gary was light-years away, gesturing inside a circle of darkness, down the wrong end of a telescope" (p17) effect of physically standing next to each other but makes it more abstract
Total Eclipse What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
Refers to spiritualism and God - Teaching a Stone to Talk, On a Hill Far AwayRefers to science - Teaching a Stone to Talk, Life on the Rocks: the Galápagos, Living Like Weasels Refers to nature - Living Like Weasels, Life on the Rocks: the Galápagos, Teaching a Stone to Talk, On a Hill Far AwayMakes the reader consider their beliefs and presents challenging ideas - all essaysAbout travel and exploration - On a Hill Far Away, Life on the Rocks: the GalápagosRich in imagery - Living Like Weasels, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Life on the Rocks: the GalápagosStrong beginning - Living Like WeaselsInclude anecdotes - Living Like Weasels, Teaching a Stone to Talk, On a Hill Far Away, Life on the Rocks: the GalápagosFeatures people other than Dillard - Teaching a Stone to Talk, On a Hill Far Away, Life on the Rocks: the Galápagos
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Content-What is the essay about?
Chapter 1 entails Dillard's expedition to Galapagos, anecdotal - recalling memories and descriptions of trip. Tone of awe and wonder, seeing incredible, unique animals, amazing interactions.Chapter 2 - Scientific discussion on Darwinism. Her confidence enough to challenge the idea of Neo-Darwinism (Pg. 118) demonstrates her intellect.
Chapter 3 - Importance of Darwin's finches.Chapter 4 - Philosophical musings on earth and its inhabitants. How geography prevents us from becoming all one species, "a tremulous muck." (Pg. 124) speciation.
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
An expedition to Galapagos Islands (off coast South America, belong to Ecuador). - Page 109: Island Daphnecita, gives it personality "attributed a surly, infantile consciousness, as though it were sulking in the silent moment after it had just shouted, to the sea and the sky, "I didn't ask to be born."- Page 109: Describes islands as "chunk of chaos..
.as though I were to open my mouth and emit a French horn, or a vase or a knob of tellurium." (chemical element no? 52).- Page 109: "..
.dome of grey lava like a pitted loaf."- Uniqueness of the flora and fauna conveyed on page 110. A living laboratory for Charles Darwin.
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Characterisation- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations.
Dillard is central in essay*Conveyed as extremely knowledgeable about historical, scientific and geographical features writes about.* Use of scientific lexis-"chromosomal nucleotides" (118)-"Charles Darwin came to the Galapagos in 1835, on the Beagle...
" (117)*Confident in knowledge of theories can question their veracity and/or plausibility. -"What Neo-Darwinism lacks, however, is a description of the actual mechanism of mutation in the chromosomal nucleotides" (118)
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Characterisation- others- who else is described in the essay? What impression do we form of them? Why? Include quotations
*Describes Alf Kastdalen-"Now a broad, blond man in his late forties...He lives in an isolated house.
.. He raises cattle..
.And his isolated Norwegian mother sees us off..." (116-117)-"He walked us round part of his farm, smiling expansively and meeting our chatter with a willing, open gaze and kind words." (116)*Perceived friendly man (very welcoming), but lonely (Dillard represents him lonely indicated by the repetition of 'isolated')
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
- Importance of exploration, travel and discovery: in search of the sublime.
(113 -114).- P.113 "We are strangers and sojourners, soft dots on the rocks." where she imparts the concept of herself being a sojourner, humans making fleeting visits.
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Structure- What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organised? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
Chapters and Temporal (time) GapsSeparates ideas, allows Dillard follow different tangents and trains of thought. Signals change direction to reader.
-Describes island, Darwinism, significance of Finches, abstract ideas related to place (hypothesis)
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos Genre-What features does this essay have that is typical of an essay?
- Trying out ideas: discussing Neo-Darwinism, challenging the plausibility of a theory surrounding "a gibbering tumult of materials." (P.118) - Progression and tangential nature of ideas. (ie: Galapagos to stories of past adventurers to Charles Darwin, finishing with evaluations and musings about the world.)- Expertise on subject matter- authority in her voice in many specific details.-Directly Addresses Reader/ Striking Opening-"First there was nothing, and although you know with your reason that nothing is nothing is nothing, it is easier to visualize it as a limitless slosh of the sea-" (108)
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
- Imagery (visual, sensory)- Personification- Figurative language (metaphor, simile)- Simile.
Simile everywhere. Pg 124 - 129.Brief characterisation of others *Alf Kastdalen- purpose: Notes and describes then moves on-shows how she records encounters. Contributes to her observational tone creates strong sense of place.Descriptive language- 113-115 very engaging description of the sea lions: 'I felt water drip on my elbow behind me, then the fragile scrape of whiskers, and finally the wet warmth and weight of a muzzle, as the creature settled to sleep on my arm.
..'-Personification and metaphors in final pages (eg:P.126: .
..The mountain's are time, machines...
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
- Rhetorical questions- Anecdote- Scientific lexis- Reference to historical figures and factual information.- Geographical descriptions"These Galapagonian rocks, one of them seventy-five miles long, have dried under the equatorial sun between five and six hundred miles west of the South American continent." (109)
Life on the Rocks: The Galápagos What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
Sense of Place -Awe of nature-Total EclipseCharacterisation of Others-On a Hill Far AwayChapters- Sequences Ideas and events (take place at different times)/ anecdotes (also rich in imagery).-Total EclipsePonders what it would be like to live a simpler existence-Living Like WeaselsImportance of travel-Sojourner
Living like Weasels Content-What is the essay about?
Dillard's interactions with a weasel. She studies the weasel's movement and the way it interacts in nature.
Also how Dillard wishes she could live like a weasel.
Living like Weasels Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
Virginia USA - Hollins Pond, near Tinker Creek. Pond is described very vividly: "Nesting pair of wood ducks..
. fields and woods, threaded with motorcycle tracks." (66)She contrasts the natural environment and man made intrusions such as the highway. (66)
Living like Weasels Characterisation- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations.
Dillard is interested in what humans can learn about themselves from observing animals.
She demonstrates a vivid imagination by describing 'being in' a weasel's brain for 60 seconds (68).She demonstrates the capacity to empathise with/identify with another living creature by supposing their thoughts and providing reasoning for their behaviour.She recognises her own animal instincts- 'I could very calmly go wild. I could live two days in a den, curled, leaning on mouse fur.
..' (p 69)Central concernsPondering the memory of seeing a weasel, wondering what it would be like to be a weasel, or at the very least what it would be like to live a weasel. Then goes onto ponder how society would function if we all lived like weasels.
Sharing her experience with the reader. Recounting memories.
Living like Weasels Characterisation- others- who else is described in the essay? What impression do we form of them? Why? Include quotations
Weasel: Fierce animal. Knows how to kill.
Lives purely on instinct ? that's how a weasel skull got lodged in an eagle's neck. The weasel lives life to the fullest on its own terms. It lives how it chooses.Detailed physical description on page 67.Description of the weasel: "Obedient to instinct.
" "Splitting the jugular vein... Crunching the brain...
Never letting go." Skull attached to the Eagle "Stubborn label."
Living like Weasels Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
• What drives us and other animals? • The connection (and disconnection) between humans and the animal world.• "The weasel lives in necessity and we live in choice.
Living like Weasels Structure- What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organised? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
6 visual divisions in the essay indicated by spaces. Section 1: Describing weasels and how they live purely on instinct.Section 2: Describing Earnest Thompson Seton's encounter with a weasel. Further describing their instinct.Section 3: Describing personal experiences with weasels. Explains why she is thinking about them.
Section 4: Recounts her experience with weasel. Strong sense of empathy, intersection between the physical and metaphysical. She is physically looking at the weasel's eyes, however metaphysically 'their brains are entwined'.Section 5: Trying to remember what it is like to live. Wondering what it is like to live purely on instinct.Section 6: Describing how Dillard missed her chance to live like a weasel.
Explaining what she should have done to live like a weasel.Section 7: Describing the benefits of living on instinct.
Living like Weasels Genre-What features does this essay have that is typical of an essay?
Structural divisionsWithin the essay there is an anecdote (meeting the weasel). Geographical descriptions.
Also uses an observational tone when describing the weasel.
Living like Weasels What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
Striking diction: active, aggressive verbs suggesting violence, conveying & reinforcing primordial, savage nature of weasel. "...stalks .
dragging..." & ".
..he does not let go." - tremendous tenacity for a relatively small 'weak' looking animal. (P.65)Listing, descriptive language ".
..curled, leaning on mouse fur, sniffing bird bones, blinking, licking, breathing musk (scent-marking secretion), my hair tangled in the roots of grasses." (P.
69)Exclamation of never having seen a weasel before creates sense of excitement, 'Weasel! I had never seen one wild before.' (67)Metaphor: "Our eyes locked, and someone threw away the key." (p 67) intensity of the gaze, importance of eye contact --> more than gazing, looking inside. Element of humor: unconventional comparison of thinking human to thoughtless animal, meeting equal in lowly rodent.
Metaphor, alliteration, sensory description, hyperbolic description: "...a clearing blow to the gut..
. sudden beating of brains, with all the charge and intimate grate of rubbed balloons. It felled the forest, moved the fields, and drained the pond; the world dismantled and tumbled into that black hole of eyes...
our skulls would split and drop to our shoulders. (P.67)Metaphor: "...
I retrieved my brain from the weasel's brain...the careening splashdown into real life and urgent current of instinct." (P.
67-8)Imagery: "A fur pendant."(66)Setting, characterisation, plot, themeWriting techniques such as- metaphor, alliteration, simile, striking visual imagery to describe people, places and events, sound/auditory imagery, sensory imagery, personificationContrast, imagery and metaphor are significant features
Living like Weasels What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
Establishment of placeSequence of eventsExploration of ideas, Representation of the essayist and other charactersWriting techniques such as anecdote, references to historical figures/experts (Ernest Thompson Seton), presentation of scientific ideas, an observational tone- created by descriptions of people, places and events
Living like Weasels What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
Nature: Total Eclipse, On a Hill Far Away, Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos, Sojourner, Teaching a Stone to TalkScience: Total Eclipse, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Life on the rocks: The Galapagos, Sojourner.
Teaching a Stone to Talk Content-What is the essay about?
The essay is about how humans interact with the world around them, and explores the idea that, in the face of not being able to make sense of nature's voice, we should be witnesses, like palo santo trees. Dillard also introduces the idea that humans have rejected the voice of God/nature, and that in order to ever hear it again, we need to listen now, and not when we are ready.
Teaching a Stone to Talk Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
The essay begins on the island where Annie Dillard lives, "In a cedar-shake shack on the cliff - but we all live like this - is a man...
" (85)There are also references to her journey to the Galapagos Islands, "On those godforsaken islands," (94) with detailed descriptions of palo santo trees, "They are thin, wispy, pale trees... Hundreds together, small and thin and spread, and so much more pale than their red soils that any black-and-white photograph of them looks like a negative..
. At every season they look newly dead... But in fact, if you look closely, you can see during the rainy months a few meagre deciduous leaves here and there on their brittle twigs.
And hundreds of lichens always grown on their bark in mute, overlapping explosions which barely enlarge in the course of the decade, lichens pink and orange, lavender, yellow, and green." (93)
Teaching a Stone to Talk Characterization- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations.
'The island where I live is peopled with cranks like myself." (85) Shows humour and self-deprecation by referring to herself as a 'crank' (eccentric). Shows an awareness of her own eccentricity.• Annie Dillard takes interest in unusual things, "For in fact, almost everyone respects what Larry is doing, as do I," (85) "I have some experience of these palo santo trees.
They interest me as an emblem of the muteness of the human stance in relation to all that is not human." (92) "I would like to come back as a palo santo tree on the weather side of an island, so that I could be, myself, a perfect witness, and look, mute, and wave my arms." (94)• Her central concerns in the essay are discussing how people relate to nature, "I call these noises silence..
. At any rate, now it is all we can do, and amongst our best efforts, to try to teach a given human language, English, to chimpanzees," (88) and how we should respond to this, "We are here to witness." (90) "Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing." (94)• Annie Dillard continues to muse on her deep philosophical dwellings.
• Dillard as a character is further developed as intelligent (use of scientific lexis) and her knowledge about religion and science, drawing parallels• Showing her knowledge towards a wide range of subjects (example comparative cosmology, references to nature (Palo Santo trees) and other alike, Chinese culture/beliefs, pantheism, etc.• Her opinions regarding the search for communication and answers in nature are expressed in explanatory and authoritative and intelligent tones throughout the essay, as her voice develops.
Teaching a Stone to Talk Characterization- others- who else is described in the essay? What impression do we form of them? Why? Include quotations
• Larry - in the first chapter, introduced. Man teaching a stone to talk.• Characterisations of human kind as a whole
Teaching a Stone to Talk Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
• Nature being the closest means to god and that communication with nature is essential to understand the world.• That humans forever seek deeper meaning and deeper communication, yet need to listen to the "hum of silence" that nature evokes.
Dillard is aiming in the essay to achieve communication with god by means of nature - listening and respecting the environment.• Finding parallels between religion and science - example drawing parallels - what is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab? Are they not both saying; Hello?" obvious differences, yet humans seek guidance and knowledge and communication, finding meaning to life.• Paradox to the hum of human silence, listening for silences.
Teaching a Stone to Talk Structure- What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organised? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
• Chapters divide Dillard's thoughts, help to divide - the spaces give you time to stop and gather your thoughts, contemplate what you have just read. Breaks between chapters also assist this.
• Chapter one - introducing Larry and the notion of teaching a stone to talk, introduction of setting.• Chapter 2 - discusses god and connection to god through nature. The chapter change provides a transition from a very light-hearted tone, to a very deep and philosophical one, which explores the idea of communication and how perhaps, silence is the best method of communication. • Chapter 3 - Explores the idea of humans having to connect, the idea that humans need communication - tangential, questioning the somewhat absurd ways of humans. By change in chapter, a new mood is presented that is emotionally unsettling.
• Chapter 4-explores the need to explore the world and further connection with the world. Chapter break allows the change in lexis (moving to a scientific based pondering of comparative cosmology).• Chapter 5 - exploring the further idea that humans are witness to the ways of the planet and being an observer of life. Travelling to the Galápagos "metaphysics laboratory" Further description of setting.
• Themes found: Humans as witnesses to 'all that is not human' (92); Nature as being a force independent to human direction• Chapter 6-draws together ideas of religion and god and other parallels from the essay example the silence of nature being loud. Being of shorter length, powerful and provides closure.• Chapters allow breaks in thoughts and perceptions.
Teaching a Stone to Talk Genre-What features does this essay have that is typical of an essay?
• The essay is tangential• The essay uses anecdote when talking about the sea lions• There are numbered chapters that signify a shift in focus• The essay is in first person and uses examples from different fields, including religion, philosophy, cosmology and psychology
Teaching a Stone to Talk What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
• Setting developed, specifically in first chapter. "You see them from the water on the steeps that face the sea, hundreds together, small and thin and spread, and so much more pale than their red soils that any black-and-white photograph of hem looks like a negative."• Personification, simile: "The palo santo trees crowd the hillside like any outdoor audience; they face the lagoons, the lava lowlands, and the shores.
" (page 91) Personification makes link between humans and palo santo trees more plausible• Characterisation of Annie Dillard - showing her internal thoughts.• Description of sea lions - playful, joyful, content.• Description of Palo Santo trees in much detail throughout, continuous reference.
Teaching a Stone to Talk What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
• Sense of place• Sequencing thoughts between the break in chapters• All the themes and ideas • Metaphysical concepts: "Until Larry teaches his stone to talk, until God changes his mind, or until the pagan gods slip back to their hilltop groves, all we can do with the whole inhuman array is watch it.
" (page 90)"The Galápagos islands are a kind of metaphysical laboratory, wholly uncluttered by human culture or history. Whatever happens on those bare volcanic rocks happens in full view, whether anyone is watching or not." (page 91)"The sea lion game looked unbeatable..
. But a year and a half later...
my attachment to them had shifted, and my memories of them had altered... like particoloured pebbles rolled back and forth over a grating, so that over time..
. only a few big, unexpected ones remain." (page 92)Dillard transitions from the physical to the metaphysical, implying that in order to achieve one's goals, you mustn't force the power of will onto what your are trying to accomplish.' A certain precise tilt of the will, so that the will becomes transparent and hollow, a channel for the work.' -Pg.
Teaching a Stone to Talk What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
• Links to 'Total Eclipse' as both talk about nature in order to talk about human nature• Content of chapter links to 'Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos'
On a Hill Far Away Content-What is the essay about?
Details her encounter with a young Christian witness boy living on his parents' farm, and her reaction to his loneliness, specifically how she sees his loneliness in herself.
On a Hill Far Away Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
Set on a hill in the woods in rural Virginia, 60 miles from Lynchburg, near Tinker Creek. 'it was sunset by the time I crossed Tinker Creek by hopping from stone to stone and inching up a fallen tree trunk to the bank.
On a Hill Far Away Characterization- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations
Able to empathize, gives some personal information "I thanked God for the sisters and friends I had had when I was little; I have not been lonely yet, but it could come at any time.' (100)Religious "She was stunned that I knew the Lord" (98)One of her concerns is the lamb in the ovenShe tries to end the conversations with the boy Tries to be interested in the boy "I repeated, with as much warmth as I could muster." (97)
On a Hill Far Away Characterization- others- who else is described in the essay? What impression do we form of them? Why? Include quotations
Boy"Eight, thin, wearing a brown corduroy jacket with darker brown pile on the collar and a matching beaked cap with big earflaps"(96)Well spoken "formal and articulate"(96) "he spoke in prose" (97)'He was a nice little kid.' (98)Very lonely- every time Dillard makes a move he starts another conversation
On a Hill Far Away Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
Isolating effect of religion- specifically the requirement to bear witness.- barbed wire fence keeping boy in- mother stands behind doorThe affect of caution and ignorance- the mother is 'nervous' (97), the boy 'quailed whenever the mare in her pen jerked his way' (99) also showing fear.
'Caution passes for wisdom around here'Loneliness and fear- mother cannot have conversation- fear of snake and horseReligion Personal Journey
On a Hill Far Away Structure- What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organised? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
Paragraph divisions3 divisions indicated by gaps- mostly chronological- setting, talks to boy, reflection on meeting mother, talks to boy, leaves
On a Hill Far Away Genre-What features does this essay have that is typical of an essay?
Personal storyAnecdotalContains characters she has met
On a Hill Far Away What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
Imagery- 'hopping from stone to stone and inching up a fallen tree trunk to the bank.' (95)Dialogue- conversations with Mother and SonCharacter descriptionsSimile- 'he spoke in prose like le bourgeois gentilhomme' (100)
On a Hill Far Away What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
Detailed description of an event experienced by the author (anecdote)
On a Hill Far Away What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
'Total Eclipse'- because of characterization and interactions with other people, detailed descriptions of surroundings
Sojourner Content-What is the essay about?
Journeys.Explores how all people are sojourners as they live on earth for a very short period of time.Sojourn: temporary stay.
Person who visits for short periods of time.Metaphorically compared people's life on earth to floating mangrove islands.Questions our purpose on earth.Dillard compares the planet Earth to a space ship, a mass moving through space.There are repeated references to Earth moving through space east towards Hercules (a constellation).
Sojourner Setting- Where is the essay set? What details are we given about the setting? Include quotations.
The essay is a philosophical contemplation- thoughts inside her head, no particular setting. "I have seen mangroves, always on tropical ocean shores, in Florida and in the Galápagos." (146)
Sojourner Characterization- the narrator- what impression do you form of Annie Dillard in this essay? What are her central concerns? Does she interact with others? In what ways? Include quotations.
Annie Dillard: Displays her vast knowledge of scientific and religious ideas. (All of page 147)ReflectiveContemplative
Sojourner Themes and Ideas- What are the main ideas? How are they explored? Include quotations
All people are sojourners.
Use of mangroves: as extended metaphor to explore how much human culture has evolved.Questions purpose in life and our sense of belonging.
Sojourner Structure- What structural divisions does Dillard use? How are the ideas organized? What is the influence of the order of the essay on the reader's understanding and response to the content?
3 main sections indicated by spaces these compartmentalize her essay:Part 1- metaphor and discussion of the mangroves. Part 2- biblical discussion and reflection on human beings and where they belongPart 3- philosophical discussion of human's place on earth, earth's place in the universeVoice: First person.Rhetorical questionsAddressing audience: "We could do worse." (148, paragraph 3) or "We are down here in time, where beauty grows." (150)
Sojourner Genre-What features does this essay have that is typical of an essay?
Captivating introductionPersonal essay - able to direct her dislikes and likes and have a nonlinear structure.Philosophical meaning to it.
Sojourner What prose techniques (also used in fiction) does Annie Dillard use?
Extended Metaphor: "The planet itself it is a sojourner in airless space a wet ball flung across nowhere." (Page 149, second paragraph)Imagery: "All this tangles from a black muck soil, a black muck mattered like a mud-sopped rag, a muck without any other plants shaded cold to the touch, tracked at the water's edge by herons and nosed by sharks" (146, at the bottom)Personification: "The people called these islands the dancers, 'because...they stir and move at the stroke of the feet, keeping time and measure.'" (148, 2nd paragraph)Strong sense of conclusionFiction techniques include:ImagerySimileMetaphorsPersonificationAlliterationAllusion
Sojourner What techniques typical of non-fiction writing does Annie Dillard use?
Factual informationPersonal opinionsTangential styleScientific lexisReference to historyObservational toneCombination of elevated lexis or philosophical ideas and everyday language.
Sojourner What other essays in the collection does this essay link to? How?
Living like Weasels: Connects humans to natureLife on the Rocks: Galápagos: Palo Santo trees and mangroves are both representing humans