Total Eclipse by Annie Dillard is the essay that reveals the internal changes that occur to the narrator in the course of the essay. At the same time, the essay helps to understand the internal world, sufferings, problems and changes that occur to the narrator. In such a way, the author attempts to show her internal world and make the audience think about eternal values. On the other hand, the story depicted by the author seems to be routine because it has numerous repetition, whereas the entire story is the narration about the total eclipse observed by the narrator. However, the total eclipse is closely integrated in the life of the main character and, what is more important, it is through the total eclipse the author wants to show insight into her internal world.
One of the major issues described by the author in Total Eclipse is the transformation of the narrator. Annie Dillard describes her experience of observing total eclipse. The author describes in details her travel but in the course of her journey she constantly refers to her past. Flashbacks help to understand the internal world of the author and what she actually come up with to watch the total eclipse. She wants to show that she has suffered from some problems, which seem to be so unimportant and far away at the moment compared to the total eclipse she observes. The narrator attempts to convey her feelings and emotions along with her flashbacks to the past.
The total eclipse affects the narrator dramatically. In fact, Annie Dillard attempts to show the change of views on the human life and the role of humans and their place on the Earth after her observation of the total eclipse. She understands that there is the great power of nature she observes and her problems seem to be so far away, when she looks at the total eclipse. In such a way, the author draws the attention of the audience to the power of nature. In such a context, troubles people face in their regular life seem to be insignificant.
At the same time, the narrator shows the change of personal views and shift toward eternal values. Under the impact of the natural phenomenon she observes, Annie Dillard cannot keep from admiration. She forgets her problems and changes her views on the past and re0evaluates her life at large. She shifts her views toward more philosophic and humanistic values. She rejects the materialism and consumerism of the modern world. She understand that her past and present as well as future are just moments compared to the eternity of the surrounding world and the universe.
Annie Dillard shows that the total eclipse is a symbol of the blindness of the narrator and the mankind, whereas the sun is the symbol of enlightenment. When Annie Dillard observes the total eclipse, she understands that her personal experience was, to a significant extent, wrong and pointless. She understands that she failed to understand the essence of human life being focused on the routine that consumed all the time and efforts of the narrator. Her troubles and her life, which seemed to be so important before the total eclipse, turn out to be so insignificant compared to the present, new life, the life after the total eclipse. She understands that there are more significance issues in the world, in the universe and she draws the attention of the audience to these issues. The author wants to open the eyes of readers to the new world which is around them but which they fail to observe in their regular life.
At the same time, the narrator conveys her personal experience to show the internal change, each person can pass through. What is meant here is the fact that the narrator conveys her personal experience and reveals her transformation to appeal the audience to follow her lead. She states clearly her opinion and views and shows that she has changed her life after the total eclipse.
In addition, the author stresses the unity of humans with nature and shows that nature is beautiful. On the other hand, she shows the weakness of humans in face of the universe but the internal power of humans is huge. In such a way, the narrator conveys her story and attempts to persuade the audience that the transformation she has experienced since observation of the total eclipse is following. In other words, she appeals to the audience to follow her lead and to open eyes to see the new, real world.
Thus, it proves beyond a doubt that Total Eclipse by Annie Dillard is noteworthy essay, which raises a number of important themes, such as the sense of human life, the place of humans in the universe and the experience of the internal transformation of the narrator.
Hemon’s memoir in essays is in turns wryly hilarious, intellectually searching, and deeply troubling. It’s the life story of a fascinating, quietly brilliant man, and it reads as such. For fans of chess and ill-advised theme parties and growing up more than once.
McIlroy, Gary. "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and the Burden of Science," American Literature Vol. 59, No. 1 (March 1987)
BLOCK: Do you have that sensation still? I know you've said before that you've stopped writing. Have you stopped entirely?