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An American Childhood Essay

In Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” she takes us the reader back in time. She tells of the activities and games she played as a child, which also draws the reader in to her story more bringing back the same memories from their childhood. She sets the stage around Christmas time on a weekday in late December. Her and her friends were standing in knee deep snow along the road waiting for cars to pass by, an easy target for anyone who could throw a snowball.

It was clearly a great day for hitting cars with all the traffic they encountered on Reynolds Street. After some time had passed Annie and her friends decided an ice ball was the way to go. So without further due they spread out and waited for the next victim. Sure enough a black Buick came close and they opened fire. As soon as one snowball struck the windshield something that had never happened before began. The man pulled over and the chase was on.

After winding all over town on the chase the man finally caught them. Out of breath the man in a stern voice shouted “You stupid kids”. For Annie and her friends the thrill of the chase was a glory they wanted to last forever. It was surely a winter none of them will forget. Dillard’s main goal in this story was to show how great her childhood really was. It depicts how most people would describe a traditional American childhood. The great thing about this piece was the descriptiveness of it.

Details describing the other characters along with the setting, and elements such as the weather really paint a great picture of the scene of the events on Reynolds Street. Also the verbs Dillard uses to describe the chase and the event in the mans pursuit shows us how terrifying it would have been as a child running from a grown man. Overall it was a great story that could easily relate to any young American child which made reading this piece very simple.


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