Annie Dillard: The Impact Of Total Eclipse

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The essay, Total eclipse by Annie Dillard, is a creative literature work that has created an impact and great influence through generations and which continues to inspire and entertain literature lovers even today. Dillard wrote about the experience after two years of seeing the eclipse. Total eclipse experience makes Annie use an explicit vocabulary and makes a personal connection by explaining total eclipse events to the readers. In this essay, she’s not trying to discuss the total eclipse; it’s more about life-changing something more significant that changes your life. Yet her tone and mood throughout the essay were completely confusing for me.

During my first time reading this story, I used to believe that Dillard is just explaining total eclipse events, which meant to me that a person who has never seen an eclipse wouldn’t be able to understand the impacts — but taking a another look as a bookworm I realized that there is little use of scientific-related language in the entire story. The inadequacy of the scientific language demonstrates how the author tries to make a personal connection and describing things in a way that even those who have never seen an eclipse would understand. The author Annie in the essay “Total eclipse” cleverly employs literary devices in the entire essay. She puts the images of the essay in readers' minds by using proper styles of literary. For example, the author portrays the sky as a background or a pathway for space objects such as the sun and moon to travel.

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In the description of the Total eclipse, “a piece of the sky appeared, suddenly detached, blackened, and backlighted, which came from nowhere and overlapped the sun”. Annie Dillard suggests that the moon is simply a piece of that sky that appeared and covered the sun. She gives the reader a sense of awe at this piece of sky is doing to the majestic sun by severally repeating the -ed sound in this sentence multiple times. The author constantly refers to the moon by using a pronoun “it.” Dillard describes the event by saying that “a piece of that sky was enormous and black that did not look the moon. Therefore, she illustrates a clear picture of the event in the readers' minds by using concise and easy grasped details. The author describes the events in such a way that readers can visualize the event in their mind, even those who have never seen an eclipse.

The author is able to keep the audience interested by using her anecdotes by referring to Emperor Louis of Bavaria. She uses unique ways to compare the dragon and with the moon. The comparison of the moon to the dragon helps the author to draw a clear picture of the sun been swallowed by the beast. She describes the relation of the moon and the eclipse in the following sentences by constantly using the pronoun “it.” She describes the clown’s head painting on the chamber that she didn’t anticipate to look at but is something that you will at no time fail to recall. There are no thinkable means to predict how an event will disturb you even if you know the event or not. When your emotions take over, the event immediately becomes a total eclipse. This results in making the unknown known, and the event will have completely changed.

In Dillard’s essay, there are overlap and intertwining of imageries, melodies, and memories, which makes Dillard’s essay a woven masterwork. It is hard to describe a linear narration in the essay since the author repeats the same observations together with words repeatedly. Dillard’s essay should also be recognized as an eclipse itself rather than relation to the intricate and broken experience. The main task of this paper is to intensely and completely understand Dillard’s moral exposure about human relationship of one another and our world by determining the moments of the eclipse in the essay. Dillard writes “there is a difference of what you know and what you see in the eclipse… Generally, it is difficult to refrain your mind from the possibilities of blinding you. What you experience during an eclipse might be more convincing than any theory you have ever experienced.” Behind her words, Annie banks on the readers to find the true meaning of her explicit vocabulary. To feel how Annie felt on the night of her total eclipse, one must use his/her own life experience. Dillard uses confusing structure and vocabulary that help her in engaging and inspiring the reader to find an example of a complete eclipse in their life. She stresses that abnormal events make lasting memories compared with the normality.

The appearance of sun is used as a symbol of illumination while the eclipse is used as a symbol of blindness to humanity. The author came to realize that her personal experience was wrong and pointless after a keenly observing the eclipse. Using similes and metaphors, Dillard is able to describe the sliding of the moon over the sun is causes creation of darkness. The authors stated that there is a visible final hole where the sun fits. The author continues her anxiety memorizing and overlooking their association with understanding and similarly with death after thoroughly describing the eclipse. During the darkness of the eclipse, Dillard quotes that they are people in the world since their minds had forgotten everything, and they had lost time in their minds. She continues saying that even though they loved the planet together with their lives, they got light wrong and could not remember any of the light-years. Dillard want to open the readers eyes and see the new world and opportunities that are around them.

The narrator shows an internal change that each person can undergo by conveying her personal experience. The author considers herself dead together with all the individuals in a while climbing the Yakima valley. On the hillsides along the Euphrates, Dillard was able to “remember” her a false way of living during the last minutes of the eclipse. After the partial eclipse, Dillard “forgetful of almost everything” during the total eclipse. Since she had almost forgotten everything Dillard only knew that the blue sky is not supposed to be in the ring of the light. She cannot remember how the sky is supposed to appear, even though is unfamiliar to her. Dillard quotes that her hands looked like silver while the sky appeared to was navy blue. She uses a metaphor to describe how the grasses on the hill look like. At this point the narrator wants to show how she had undergone some problems which were no important. After the eclipse Dillard changes her life which is evident in her opinions and views.

The section that follows in the essay is a pivot for the literary. Dillard says that they were tempted to abandon these regions since they had had enough, and they were tired of the burden. She argued that they shouldn’t burn their hands any more than they had since the price of the gold had risen abruptly. The price of gold had risen, which made the people wonder why they are burning their hands anymore. Dillard states that they were not interested in digging deeper into finding new territories Dillard could not exit the hole since the value of the chance of retaining her knowledge was at the greatest peak. In her essay, Dillard states that at this point, they were still to reach the dark moments. Neither we have the gold, nor we have reached the bottom of the hole. Once more, she picks her recollection of the total eclipse.

In the context of the whole essay, the feeling of distorted orientation is created by distorted and impossible images, which encourages the readers to hold their disbelief. There is little connection to scientific comprehension of the event, which makes the readers familiar with the event. Dillard’s experience demonstrates an internal experience rather than a two-minute phenomenon. Without this cognitive progression and change, the piece would be neither interesting nor aesthetically enjoyable.

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Annie Dillard: The Impact Of Total Eclipse. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from
“Annie Dillard: The Impact Of Total Eclipse.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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