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Annie Dillard's A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

Annie Dillard's A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

Throughout history people in general have tried in countless ways to explain the presence of a ‘higher being’. It is basic human nature to wonder about such things. Each and every one of these people has come up with a different explanation for their interpretation of the spiritual power. Annie Dillard and Kurt Vonnegut have given wonderful examples of how these interpretations can differ in their respective books A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and Slaughterhouse-Five. Each of these books, although covering broad topics throughout, has focused on one center-point: The explanation of why we are here and what it is that we are supposed to do as people.

In A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, author Annie Dillard offers a look into her thoughts by publishing her journal of daily activities while living in a rural area. These activities range from taking walks by the creek to pondering the meanings of life by analyzing a praying-mantis egg sac. Each and every one of her journals offers a deep insight into the spiritual world, not by a particular ‘God’ but more through daily interactions with nature. A pilgrim is described as one who travels far, or in strange lands, to visit some holy place or shrine as a devotee. Dillard is simply that. Many people think that Dillard was inspired to write this novel by a near-fatal attack of pneumonia in 1971. She was remembered as saying that after she recovered, she felt an insatiable need to ‘experience life more fully’. She spent four seasons living near Tinker Creek in an attempt to find herself. What she found was not only how to live a full life, but also religion. Her attempt to find meaning is made very apparent in the beginning of her book. “We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence...."Seem like we're just set down here," a woman said to me recently, "and don't nobody know why."” (Dillard, 4). These are vexing questions to us all, and Dillard was determined to explore them.

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