Commentary- Anne Dillard's "An American Childhood"

538 Words3 Pages
“Private life, book life, took place where words met imagination with passing through world.” On pages 120 and 121, Dillard talks about reading books; she talks about the extent that she reads to, and what happens when she does that. This is the perfect example of one of the functions of reading shown throughout the book: learning from books and using the imagination. Dillard reads a book, and takes in new knowledge. She then uses her imagination to apply what she has learned to then create an imaginary world where she can escape reality. Throughout the book, Dillard reads about experiences, adventures, events in history, and people. She reads about everything you can imagine. When she reads about something, she takes in new information, expanding her knowledge. Expanding her knowledge every time she reads allows her to also expand her imagination. She can use her imagination to reenact this knowledge in her mind, therefore learning new things through her imagination. For example, in the quote she is reading about wars. She reads about Indians and Frenchman, and she says “Whenever I opened the book, the war struck up again…” She then compares the towhead Indians to schoolchildren, recreating the war in her own way. This shows how she is using her imagination to learn. When she recreates this war in her imagination after learning about it, it shows how much the content in books spark her imagination. If she wouldn’t have read books about war, she would have never imagined the schoolchildren war scene in her mind. When she opens the book, she can imagine something new every time. It’s almost like she uses these books to create her own world of learning; she can “dream it all” whenever she wants. It is her own private world where she can learn all the information she wants, and learn it in any way. As Dillard is learning new things, expanding her knowledge, and

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