Annie Dillard’s Various Ways to Picture Seeing
A large portion of Dillard’s seeing is dedicated to patients who are newly sighted. While they were visually impaired, the doctors spoke about how those patients spoke of what they “saw.” For many people, it would just be interpreted as darkness. However, for the blind, there were a large number of things they could see. Another perspective provided by Dillard in this regard is that while a person was blind, he was indifferent to objects. Now the seeing gives him a matter of distinguishing among objects. This distinguishing can, unfortunately, lead to discrimination and a person may resort to crime and violence. Some patients wanted to go back to their “darkness” after seeing too much light through their newly sighting.
Dillard concludes about the act of “seeing” by convincing people that they must let go. In this instance, she compares a person walking with or without a camera. Both acts will provide different perspectives. A person needs to come out of the comfort zone to be able to see. At times, walking with a camera is useful, and in many other times, Dillard would choose to walk without a camera to have her own lens towards nature. This convinces the audience that for a
different perspective into what can be seen, a fresh lens may be needed. This also helps to remove preconceived notions about objects in nature.
The perfect way to sum up Dillard’s view on the act of seeing is through her statement, “the pearl may be found, it may not be sought” (p. 8). This means that Dillard believes that while everyone sees, not everyone can gain the real benefit of seeing without seeking something. Hence, an observation has to be made with a purpose and goal in mind to be able to seek something and not just to be able to find it. Since a considerable part of chapter one is dedicated to how blind people would view the world, it is important to conclude that people in different situations need to be “made” to see the world differently. For example, a newly sighted person should be exposed to different colors immediately so that he/she is not shocked to see all such bright colors later. This is because it would not only be a shock but also force a person to resort to less desirable actions in society. Such actions need to be controlled and monitored by exposing such people to the colors where they are not left in a state of bewilderment.