Annie Dillard is a renowned essayist; having won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize of 1975 and written a number of books such as Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982), An American Childhood (1987), The Writing Life (1989) among others. In this article, The Deer of Providence, she comes out as a great writer and a lover of nature, who seeks the mysteries and excitement that come upon interaction with new natural environments (Dillard, ).
We can be able to gather the main purpose of Annie’s as being the fact that suffering is a natural phenomenon hence people shouldn’t wonder why it has happened but should cope and move on; because its nature.
According to the article, Annie is the youngest of four travellers from North America and the only woman in the group. They camp at a small village called Providence in the Amazon jungle and witness a shocking occurrence involving a deer which had been captured by the village dogs. The deer had developed injuries on its thin neck as it struggles to free itself from the rope now tying three of its hooves.
They later had a sumptuous meal of well-prepared fish and a previously caught deer with rice and some bananas as well. As they headed to their tents for a goodnight sleep, it becomes apparent that the men had been astonished by Annie’s ability to look at the struggling deer at Providence without the feeling of remorse. Annie remembers her bathroom picture, at home, of a man who had burnt his face off for the second time in his life.
This is where Annie’s main theme is revealed; Pain and suffering has got little or nothing to do with an individual, human or just a deer; it’s simply nature (Dillard, 1945).
To support her thesis of pain and suffering being part of nature, Annie Dillard uses the illustration of the Deer of providence’s struggle and the burnt man in a newspaper article; a Mr. McDonald. I think the two examples are good enough to bring out the fact that nature doesn’t discriminate; whether human or not, we are prone to pain and suffering. The two scenarios perfectly illustrate the writer’s opinion and though they might seem to have different settings and occurrences, they correspond to the purpose. However, some differences arise from the wo examples given by Dillard. First is the cause of suffering in the two scenarios where we are able to observe that in the case of the deer of providence, it was another creature, the dogs and humans, who caused the deer to endure the pain and suffering. In Mr. , McDonald’s case, nobody was to blame for the pain and suffering he endured; it was a pure accident. The Second difference that comes out is the end result after the suffering where in the case of the deer it’s obvious that death will be the final result while in Mr.
McDonalds case, there’s a chance of survival as witnessed in his earlier burning experience (Dillard, 1945). The similarities can also be derived such as the issue of both occurrences causing pain and suffering to those involved. Whether the pain endured is as a result of another creatures actions or not; whether the victims survived the ordeal or not (Mr. McDonald may have also died) equal pain and suffering was endured which, as Dillard the writer insists, is the main purpose of the illustrations.
Annie Dillard manages to bring out her thesis and effectively supports it with examples which vehemently appeal to me as the reader. The way she argues out her opinion is quite persuasive and the fact that she uses her own experiences, both in the jungle and in the comfort of her home, shows the belief she has of suffering and pain in the world.