Instructor: Cami Nelson
24 September 2013
In Search of: The Secret of Living
In the essay “Living like weasels”, Annie Dillard states that weasels and their life style is an example of good life people should follow. The essay under analysis is full of symbolic meanings and objects, which help the author to convey and interpret the meaning of the work and underline its philosophical significance. The author uses different artistic ways to create a message of the essay, but she does not express her ideas logically and clearly.
Using specific tone, Dillard tries to create an atmosphere of wildness and objectivity. From the very beginning, it seems that Dillard is an expert in this field of speaking about deep philosophical problems and ideas. She wrote about the characteristics of a Weasel in grave detail, talked about its way of life, its courage and strength. On the other hand, some concluding comments suggest that the author is uncertain about causes and consequences of such wildness. She writes: “I don’t think I can learn from a wild animal in particular, but I might learn something of mindlessness, of purity of living in the physical sense” (Dillard 2). I felt that it is not a voice of the author, but a voice of the person who feels uncertain and worried. The tone of the essay reflects personal peculiarities and worldview of the author.
The structure of the essay prevents the author to get the point across. On the one hand, the vivid description of a weasel shapes the atmosphere, but on the other hand, lengthily descriptions combined with philosophical questions and ideas prevented me to get the idea at once. For instance, ”A weasel is wild. Who knows what he thinks? He sleeps in his underground den, his tail draped over his nose” (Dillard 1). The description is put at the very beginning of the story, so it is possible to say that the author wants to underline the significance of a weasel for entire work and plot development attracting...