Outlook on Life in Annie Dillard’s Essay “Total Eclipse”

Outlook on Life in Annie Dillard’s Essay “Total Eclipse”

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Based on Annie Dillard’s account of witnessing a total eclipse in her essay “Total Eclipse” I would have to say she definitely encourages her readers to witness a total eclipse. She says that it is almost the opposite of a partial eclipse, which I am sure most people have seen many times before, that’s how different they are and I believe most people including myself think partial eclipses are spectacular and almost dreamlike.

The opening line in “Total Eclipse” is “It had been like dying, that sliding down the mountain pass” (477). Annie Dillard is describing traveling through the mountains and down into the Yakima Valley and how she feels this place is so strange because it is all new to her. This gives you an idea of Annie Dillard’s ability to describe everything in sight and also what she is feeling and her anticipation about seeing the total eclipse.

Annie Dillard describes the scenery of the Yakima valley the morning her and her husband depart from their hotel on their way to an unknown hill to watch the eclipse. She goes into detail about everything she can see: “This was the Yakima valley […] It is justly famous for its beauty, like every planted valley. All its hundreds of low, golden slopes bore orchards. Among the orchards were towns, and roads, and plowed and fallow fields” (479). The way Dillard describes the terrain in the Yakima valley makes it seem like it would be a nice place to visit even without there being a total eclipse, how there are grassy hills everywhere you look lots of orchards and a beautiful river that runs through the valley. It shows you that traveling to see an eclipse can also turn into a great time to see more then just the city you live in; it can broaden your horizon.

She then later ...


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...e eclipse to dieing now that the sun had appeared again she feels like she was re-born or brought back to life just like everything around them went from black and gray to green, blue, and yellow they way they were before the eclipse commenced. It demonstrates that the eclipse can almost give oneself a new way to look at life. It can give you a new thought process on ones outlook.

In whole I believe Annie Dillard’s essay “Total Eclipse” serves to encourage her readers to witness a total eclipse themselves. She shows us that this isn’t just an event you will witness then forget about soon afterwards. It is something that stays with you throughout your life because of the impact it has on you. It can also bring to the table a new way to look at the world around you by almost showing you the opposite of what you know a parallel world for the duration of the eclipse.

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