The Deer at Providencia

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Annie Dillard is a renowned essayist. She has won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize of 1975 and written a number of books such as Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982), An American Childhood (1987), and The Writing Life (1989) among others. In the article The Deer of Providence, she comes out as a great writer and a lover of nature, who seeks the mysteries and excitement that comes upon interaction with new natural environments (Dillard, 1945). The main idea of Annie’s article is that suffering is a natural phenomenon hence people should not wonder why it has happened but should cope with it and move on, because it is natural. According to the article, Annie is the youngest of four travellers from North America and the only woman in the group. They camp at a small village called Providence in the Amazon jungle and witness a shocking occurrence involving a deer which had been captured by the village dogs. The deer develops injuries on its thin neck as it struggles to free itself from the rope tying three of its hooves. Later, they had a sumptuous meal of well-prepared fish and a previously caught deer with rice and some bananas as well. As the travelers headed to their tents for a night sleep, it becomes apparent that the men had been astonished by Annie’s ability to look at the struggling deer at Providence without the feeling of remorse. Annie remembers her bathroom picture, at home, of a man who had burnt his face off for the second time in his life. This is where Annie’s main theme is revealed; pain and suffering has got little or nothing to do with an individual, human or just a deer; it is simply nature (Dillard, 1945). To support her thesis that pain and suffering is a part of nature, Annie Dillard uses the illustration of the deer’s struggle and the burnt man in a newspaper article, Mr. McDonald. I think the two examples are good enough to bring out the fact that

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