Paper on Living Like Weasels

Paper on Living Like Weasels - Lindsay Lastinger English II...

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Unformatted text preview: Lindsay Lastinger English II Coach Allen October 13, 2008 Living like Weasels In “Living like Weasels,” written by Annie Dillard, a variety of rhetorical strategies and stylistic devices are used to convey a definite point. Dillard uses a series of contrasts, imagery, example, and description to illustrate how one must hold on to what they are called to, and live by instinct. Animals in nature, particularly the weasel, live by instinct, and use wildness and tenacity to achieve greatness. However, in the human world, instinct is often manipulated and broken. In her essay, Dillard expresses her deep desire for humans to live the same kind of instinctive life that is lived by animals in nature. In this essay, Dillard uses comparison to express the differences between the natural world and the human world. These comparisons are highlighted when she is describing Lake Hollins. She speaks of it as having a “…55 mph highway at one end of the pond, and a nesting pair of wood ducks at the other…” She also says that “under every bush is a muskrat hole or a beer can.” These comparisons suggest the different lifestyles of animals and humans. Animals know their purposes in life, and live accordingly to these purposes. All the while, humans are too preoccupied to fulfill their purposes in life, leading to ultimate failure. Another one of the more prominent stylistic devices used in this essay is imagery. In each paragraph, different elements are vividly described, giving readers realistic mental images. One element that is briefly described is the lake. Dillard portrays it as having “…six thousand inches of water and six thousand lily pads…” Another element that provides the essay with imagery is the hunting tactics of a weasel. A weasel’s methods of attack on prey include “biting his prey at the neck, either splitting the jugular vein at the throat or crunching the brain at the base of the skull, and he does not let go.” These images may be somewhat disturbing, but they provide the imagery that is vital to the meaning of the essay. The weasel does not let go of his prey, similar to the way he does not let go of his instincts, his true necessities of life. The last of Dillard’s literary strategies is the use of example. She uses the weasel as an example of the way she wants humans to live. A weasel, like all animals on earth, is “obedient to instinct.” The weasels “live as they should,” while humans live by a series of exasperating choices. Dillard admires the characteristics of the weasel, and this is why she uses it as an example of admiration in her essay. In conclusion, Annie Dillard uses several forms of comparison, imagery, and examples to convey her point. Her point is that humans should live as animals live. They should find their calling in life, their one true necessity, and stick to it. Like the weasel, they should be open to both time and death, and not let their instincts be manipulated. All in all, they should let the lifestyles of animals provide them with inspiration to become better people. ...
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This document was uploaded on 10/30/2011.

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