Annie Dillard, an enthusiast essayist, memoirist, and literary critic, has avidly focused on the theme of the relationship between the self, nature, and faith. Her writings emphasize the reader to search for the meaning of life in the places where one considers it unlikely to be found, like in a rock or an insect. American childhood is a memoir in which the writer Annie Dillard reflashes the incidents in her childhood. The memoir opened shortly after the second world war incident when she was just five years old, and it covers the span until she was eighteen. The writer portrayed herself as a curious and vibrant child always in quest of learning a new thing. As she narrated:
“I wanted to notice everything as Holmes had noticed and remember that all like no one ever had before (Dillard).”
The writer has weaved anecdotes and memoirs along with apt commentary proving how every single incident was significant. She has not recounted the scenes as a passive observer. Since the memoir covers a broad spectrum of anecdotes so, summarizing it on a single theme will not be justified. Each memory remembers her being more self-aware, contemplative, and curious—her evolution from childhood to adolescence and then carving out of the inside artist. The significant beauty lies in the exhibition of the paradox of memory, as she signifies the discerns between memory and experience. From this comparison, the writer focuses on how the past changes the act of remembering memoirs.
One of the significant roles played in the life of the writer was the cheerful personality of her mother; the section focuses on the literal aspect of her mother nature and her profound likeness to jokes and quirks of speech. In my opinion, the writer has claimed many facts by deliberately shifting points of view from her own to her mother and has mostly provided anecdotal and observational evidence. Like when Annie’s father was watching baseball, her mother heard,
“Terwilliger, bunts one! (Dillard, 242)”
Although Annie claimed that her mother didn’t have a profound love for the games, her love for the jokes, witticism, and odd phrases is quite evident; she enjoyed the new joyous phrases like a child fiddling with a new toy. The writer recollected the event and deduced the observational evidence that her love for the history and playful combination of the words came from her mother’s instincts. The use of the word “mother” directly takes the reader a chance to connect with her mother and develop empathy pragmatically.
Further, the writer has claimed that torpid conformity is a sin; the audacity of expressing your opinion should be one of the main factors parents should emphasize on. In my opinion of the author’s reflection, her mother was quite a daring woman to inculcate this idea in her kids. In her opinion, a person should own his opinion even if he has o risk ostracism. The evidence was when the author claimed on the dining table that Giant is a good movie, her mother wasn’t ignorant of the fact that Annie hadn’t watched a movie, so she asked him promptly:
“Is that your considered opinion? (Dillard, 246)”
The author also put forward a factual claim of how integral it is for parents to tell their children that they don’t know all, and still, there is a need for improvement. The quest intrigued the writer to excel more in linguistics. The evidence being her mother told her once that there was a deer standing in the hallway, the writer exclaimed with wonder. Her mother responded:
“I just wanted to tell you something once without your saying, ‘I know (Dillard, 243).”
So the role performed by Dillard’s mother cast a profound impact on her literal and moral upbringing. Whether it was her perfectionist nature, her open-mindedness toward racism and societal segregation, or her love for the language, every single aspect had plenty of inferential claims to be understood by parents.
Until I experienced the loss of a beloved friend and I could never free myself from memories, and that awakening got a lifelong impact. I have personally experienced that looking back at memories: a few associated with a significant event are still vivid, but the little detailing has lost us long and is now veiled; probably, we have satisfyingly engaged with life.