Literature Review: Annie Dillard’s Various Ways to Picture Seeing

Annie Dillard’s Various Ways to Picture Seeing

Introduction

The title of the book which has been used for this work is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. From the complete book, chapter one has been used for this write-up. The name of the chapter is “Seeing”, where Dillard is trying to make a sense of what she sees. Seeing can have various interpretations and connotations for observers. Dillard finds various ways to see a picture using her observation. That observation, for each individual, is dependent upon the senses and the sensation of color which reaches the person. Hence, it is being argued that there are multiple ways of seeing a picture, depending on each person’s chosen lens.

Different Forms of Seeing

According to Dillard; something may be different from just at something. “Looking”, for Dillard, is casting a passing look on any object of nature. Not everyone can see but many others can just look. Seeing means making a sense of what is being looked at. For example, Dillard says that every day she is exposed to so many things of nature and that she looks at all of them. However, she does not pay equal attention to all that she is looking at. She picks and chooses what to “see.” Therefore, for some people, seeing may be different from looking. Not all can make sense of what they are looking at, and are just left in awe by looking at something. This is because they are not able to comprehend effectively. There are different ways of seeing that she explores. Firstly, she believes in destiny, as quoting her from the chapter, “the world is in fact planted in pennies” (p. 1). Dillard, with hiding her pennies and random people finding the pennies, believes that each day some lucky person can and will receive the penny. Her belief in luck made her take decisions for herself. So one way that she sees is by observing the behavior of people as and when she hides the pennies.

Dillard’s Various Ways to Picture Seeing

Another way of seeing that she explores is by saying and believing that “what you see is what you get” (p. 1). According to Dillard, each individual has his/her own lens through which an interpretation of the world and nature is made. For example, animals hear and see things which human beings cannot, so the animals been provided with a different set of analytical tools as compared to human beings. By “what you see is what you get”, Dillard is positive that whatever a person is looking for is able to find it with the firm belief that such an object exists in nature. If Dillard cannot find squirrels climbing on a tree, it is because she does not have a firm belief that she is expected to find squirrels climbing a tree. Hence, a person will eventually find what he is looking for if the seeing comes with a firm belief. At the end of the day, “I see what I expect” is all about faith.

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