Annie Dillard's An American Childhood

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In Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood”, Dillard’s mother is examined through a series of humorous anecdotes. From these anecdotes, the reader can truly grasp how deeply Dillard admires her mother. The first story from Dillard’s childhood unfolds in the kitchen when Dillard’s mother catches onto the words “Terwilliger bunts one”. This phrase is repeated quite often throughout the story and shows Dillard’s mother’s way with words. Later on in the story we further see Annie’s mother’s dexterity with speaking, when she informs her children about the building of the Tamiami Trail and when she notices the exclusive way in which Pittsburghers speak. We can clearly see Dillard’s admiration for her mother’s speaking ability in the quote “The drama of the words “Tamiami Trail” thrilled her … I thought all the suffering of road building was worth it (it wasn’t my suffering), now that we had this new thing to hang these new words on – Alligator Alley for those who liked thing cute, and, for connoisseurs like Mother, for lovers of the human drama in all its boldness and terror, the Tamiami Trail.” (111 Dillard)…show more content…
However, although it seemed that Dillard’s mother’s sense of humor made her out to be insane, it actually helped her daughter to learn one important lesson – that she hadn’t learned everything yet. In the story we learn that one quiet evening out in the country her mother told her “There’s a deer standing in the front hall” to which she responded “really”, at which point her mother then said “No. I just wanted to tell you something once without your saying, ‘I Know.’” (112 Dillard) From her mother reminding her that she didn’t know everything yet, Dillard learned to develop her own opinions rather than falling into the influence of the majority’s

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