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English 11207 - Essay I - Tim Thyne ENGL 112.07 H Walton...

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Tim Thyne ENGL 112.07 H. Walton 3/29/2007 Torn In a world that teaches self-reliance and a religion that teaches the denial of self, it is easy for Christians to feel torn between the two identities. Annie Dillard’s autobiographical work “An American Childhood” shows the effects on Dillard when these two ideas collide. In the film “The Mission”, written by Robert Bolt, Rodrigo Mendoza, played by Robert De Niro, is a slave-trader that learns the value of community after paying a penance for killing his brother. His transformations throughout the film show his struggle to rely on God when that new found trust is put to the test. Both Dillard’s and Mendoza’s past, pride, and the willingness to test new knowledge as truth get in the way of developing their humility and reliance on God. A comparison of the two works will help one better understand how someone can conquer this common struggle. First looking at Dillard’s past, her self reliance is rooted in that she thinks she knows almost everything, “Only the strongest evidence could penetrate this illusion, which distorted everything I saw” (Dillard, 122). Because she has been going to the church so long, she thinks she knows everyone. This gets in the way of being able to see the true meaning of why people go to church. She judges them and calls them hypocrites, and avoids communion all together. Additionally, it is clear that her parents have not set a good example nurturing the idea of a self-denying lifestyle. For example, when she goes
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