Dillard's Values of Life in Her Texts

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After the last section’s tone of Dillard’s fascination of weasels violence, the tone changes to a sense of comfort and peacefulness. The sense of scenery Dillard uses like the pond close to her house brings this comfort of nature. As Dillard uses “so” she explains that she already has a motive to go along this path. Dillard depends on herself to do this action instead of doing it by necessity. This section relates to the Transcendentalism Era where Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau believe the values of life is individualism, idealism, and the divinity of nature. Humans have a sense of relaxation and freedom through nature but is that enough? Dillard uses antithesis throughout this section as she describes the nature around her and the material world around her. The “highway” and “barbed-wire fences” contrast with the “pond’s shoreline” and “grassy fields.” This shows that although she has nature to keep her at peace with herself, the material world has a negative aspect that hurts her peacefulness in the natural world. Even though nature brings her comfort, she still wants more. She wants to go after her own aspirations with instinct, not motive. She doesn’t want nature to be the only place she can escape.

After seeing a “wild” weasel Dillard tries envision herself in the weasels brain. How would it be to live by necessity, rather than by choice? Again, her tone changes as she is less suspicious. The exaggeration of “locked and someone threw away the key” allowed her to envision the soul of the weasel. They didn’t just start at each other but they comprehended each other. This meaningful interaction allowed Dillard to spill everything she learned about the weasel. Dillard through this meeting that humans have become too sidetracked by their freedom of choice and she blames herself for being unable to separate herself from the world’s chaos. Dillard couldn’t take her eyes off the weasel because she felt as if she was looking through a window into a new world. After she saw what the new world had to offer, she switches to a motivational voice. Now, Dillard is all about driving the readers into believing that a single necessity is better than having complete freedom. She demonstrates in detail why she believes that necessity should be more important as her specific details of the interaction between her and the weasel. The second part of the quote represents a cacophony which is a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds. The use of ‘B’ being repeated several times represents how our brain acts as a limitation from the true life. We overuse our brain and instead should act how we truly wish to act. Her interaction allowed her to understands weasels more than she understands people.

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The structure of this stanza is important as the author starts to relate her observations of weasels to human behavior. This can be represented as the second part of the story as it transitions more into a motivational aspect to humans. The first part was the contrast between the life a weasel and the second part is an insight into her own life. This quote shows exactly how living like a weasel would be which can be the definition of the title. Dillard wants to live in necessity rather than choice and everything she describes that a weasel does follows that. She wants to rely more on instinct and present happiness than worry about the future. This is a contrast and it is used to describe the differences between weasels and humans. Dillard’s simplicity of life and humans are flawed. The word “open” suggest a sense of freedom and lack of restriction in the weasels’ “time and death”, suggesting weasels’ acceptance of their present time and accepting death when it comes “painlessly”. The use of “painlessly” gives a sense of comparison between weasels and humans, who dies more painfully. The diction suggest the attachment that human had, and the things that they cannot let go in life, as weasels die with no desires. The continuation of “noticing everything, remembering nothing” links back to Dillard’s use of “time”, suggesting weasels’ simplicity with time and how the present is all that matters for them, as humans does the opposite by carrying their past burden with them as they move along in life. The word “given” suggest the lack of choice that a weasel has in life, as humans were given more choice. The words “given” and “fierce” suggest how weasels’ strive to achieve anything that is necessary for their own survival. The last word, “pointed will” suggest the obligation of the weasels’ lives and how their “will” is the only thing that keeps them alive. Dillard has successfully delivered each meaning of her informal diction to emphasize the differences between weasels’ simply life and humans’ greed, structuring it in a way for readers to realize the growing demands in our society. Humans can benefit from living wild as a weasel because living mindless, free and focused we will be able to get closer to our goals in life. As Dillard expresses, achieving our goals would be easiest if we were to live mindlessly.

This quotes use of repetition of the phrase, “held on,” shows the sense of regret and longing that the speaker has for the life of a weasel. The speaker wishes she had held on tight for a better life, different than the one she has. This quote is the whole purpose of this essay. She now has an amazing and shocking tone and she wants the readers to experience with her. This amazement allows her to relate the weasel to some sacred figure. Dillard starts to becomes jealous of the weasel’s ability to live by necessity and explains how people can learn from the wild freedom of weasels. This quote explains how Dillard already had a first chance to live but she wasn’t satisfied. Although she has a second chance, she doesn’t know if she can fully live right. “Should of” shows her guilt and “through mud and into wild rose” shows what her life in the past could have been if she abided by this. This analogy is of what she should’ve done to what she actually did shows that she is taking advantage of the present moment without waiting for the future.

Dillard uses connections from past writings, detailed imagery, and careful diction to reveal the weasel’s strong desire to something everyone can learn from. The tone is deep and thoughtful. Dillard finally doesn’t mention the weasel and illustrates the purpose of the text. This quote supports the greatest skill of all, living by necessity. Learning about this now allows readers to go after their aspiration with instinct, not motive. If we were all to live like the weasel does, where their mindset is to be wild it will benefit us in the long run. Humans love to have the power of choice which Dillard believes is negative for the people. Dillard uses details from the first paragraph where a dead weasel still stayed onto the eagle. She is in awe at how this weasel holds onto something that they want. She brings this imagery back when she states, “to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.” Dillard also uses careful diction by using epistrophe by the phrase, “It would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure” By keeping the word “and,” she shows her excitement and wonder over the weasel. The author concludes that humans can learn from the wild freedom of weasels. Dillard ends off with doing whatever makes you happy by holding on to a necessity and sticking to it “wherever it takes you.”

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Dillard’s Values of Life in Her Texts. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/dillards-values-of-life-in-her-texts/
“Dillard’s Values of Life in Her Texts.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/dillards-values-of-life-in-her-texts/
Dillard’s Values of Life in Her Texts. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/dillards-values-of-life-in-her-texts/> [Accessed 16 Jul. 2024].
Dillard’s Values of Life in Her Texts [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Jul 16]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/dillards-values-of-life-in-her-texts/
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