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“An American Childhood” Reader’s Response

Many details in Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” suggest that the author is retelling the events of an early childhood experience from the viewpoints of herself as an adult. Ms. Dillard’s essay uncovers the differences between how adults and children view the world and seek happiness. However, there are a couple points to this essay. It seems as though, one of the author’s main points was to convey the message that some of the simplest moments in her life were also the happiest and most memorable. For example, she says, “I got in trouble throwing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since”. Also, I noticed that the author seemed to be motivated to inspire readers to chase life’s experiences passionately until one is satisfied. In the essay the author uses two rhetorical modes: narration and description. Ms. Dillard uses narration to describe her perspective of what it was like to be a child in America. In addition to using narration she also describes the intricate details of that particular winter day “Six inches of new snow had just fallen. We were standing up to our boot tops in snow on a front yard trafficked Reynolds Street slowly and evenly; they were targets all but wrapped in red ribbons, cream puffs.” (91). In relation to the unit theme: The shaping of Identity this writing piece uses an autobiographical narrative and flashback writing techniques to portray the American Childhood.
Ms. Dillard’s perspective of an American childhood was quite accurate and helped me to remember my own childhood. I really enjoyed that her essay didn’t portray her as overly girl but someone that could hang out with the guys, be a tomboy and be accepted. Moreover, Ms. Dillard’s success in her essay helped me to relate to a moment in my past when I chased my own passion of becoming a Nursing Assistant and

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