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Annie Dillar: An American Childhood Essay

  • Submitted by: johnmiller24
  • on March 9, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,279 words

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Below is an essay on "Annie Dillar: An American Childhood" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Reading in An American Childhood: An Unparalelled Influence

In her memoir, An American Childhood, Annie Dillard conveys to her readers her deep love of reading. For Dillard, reading and the pursuit of knowledge are what make the world go round. Dillard even states that she reached the point where, she “was now believing books more than I believed what I saw and heard” (183). Dillard’s love for reading is demonstrated time and time again. It would be a difficult task for her readers to find a section that has not been influenced directly or indirectly by reading. Dillard’s father, Frank Doak, was also obsessed with reading, especially with Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. He even quit his job and traveled down the Allegheny River on a six-week odyssey in search of the Dixieland jazz he loved so dearly.   By analyzing the impact books had on her and her family, her experiences at the Homewood Library, and other books that captivated Dillard’s interest, we can see that in Dillard's case, it may well be impossible to identify another influence that comes close to the power of books.
“Books make the man,” announced the blue bookplate that Dillard’s father had on all of his books (8).   This bookplate in itself provides a glimpse as to the impact that books and reading have on Dillard’s family. Dillard states that her parents were avid readers; her mother spent much of her time reading Time Magazine, while her father was buried in Mark Twain's ruminations on the Mississippi River. Her father’s adventure down the Mississippi River is a perfect example of the influence that a single literary work can have. Dillard tells us, “There were dozens of copies of Life on the Mississippi on the living-room shelves” (6). He eventually left his home in Pittsburgh to follow his dream of piloting a boat down the great Mississippi River. When he departed, he left his wife and three daughters that were ten and seven, as well as a sixth-month-old baby girl. Frank Doak sold the boat...

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