Response to An AmericanChildhood by Annie Dillard
Annie Dillard, in her story of AnAmerican childhood, emphasizes on the need to pursue an importantgoal in life.
In the opening paragraphs,Dillard introduces her story with a reflection, probably, to createplatform for the reader to understand the chronicle of her childhoodbehaviours in preparation for what is to follow afterwards. Forinstance, she appraises football as a fine sport and commends theboys for teaching her how to play. I find such an approach veryinteresting since a reader is prepared, in a way, on what to expect.
I like the simplicity in whichDillard uses her autobiographical nature acts as a setting thatcompels the reader to appreciate every situation in her childhood.This makes one follow the story from introduction through to the endwith much ease. It is very captivating to read about childhoodbehaviours since every person has passed through the same and knowsthe wits and behaviours of children.
The use of nature as settinggives an image of honest and true world while the extensive use ofimagery, repetition and exaggeration makes the story very interestingto read. I believe the story seems to make more sense among the youngadults as it presents then with a light way used by children inperceiving problems and complexities in life. As Dillard puts it, itis clear that children give all their heart in chasing a goal. Inmost cases, young adults seem to dismiss children and portray theirirrelevance in whatever their do, hence the use of the common term‘childish behaviour’. While it is true that children, may, inmost cases find themselves at loggerheads with their seniors, it isalso true that the adults need to understand them. For instance,Dillard and Mikey hoped that the young man would have given up onchasing them where they say that ‘any normal adult would havequit…’ At the end, everyone was very tired and they had snow allover but nothing much was accomplished. If children are understood,then there are other better ways of teaching them than competing withthem. Dillard wondered how the man would trace back his way to hiscar. While the man was so furious with them, Dillard believed that ifthey’d have died, then it would have been a happy death.
I enjoyed reading the story dueto its richness in stylistic techniques such as suspense and imagery.However, Dillard could have captured my attention more by using aclear conclusion. For instance, despite of the nice story from thebeginning up to the time when the man get hold of them, the aftermathis quite unclear. This left us wondering what the man did with themand whether he was able to trace his way back to where he had leftthe car. I really wished that Dillard could have narrated the lessonshe learnt from that incident.
In a way, a find that theconclusion is well suited for plays that have more than one section,where the reader looks forward for the next series. However, maybethe reader had the plans of continuing with the story on whathappened between them and the man. Personally, I look forward to theother part of this story, if there will be one.