Books and Movies Reviews

Trip to the Pole—Annie Dillard analysis

In her essay, "An Expedition to the Pole," Annie Dillard approaches the tricky technique of
symbolism and metaphysical images to portray her thoughts onreligion, while avoiding the
dangers of making it too confusing, or too preachy. Descriptions combined with the narration
of the absurd are effectivelyused even withoutinforming the reader that her material departs
from their own expectations of what is real.Her writing is filled with specific, memorable,
seemingly random thoughts that eventually develop deep metaphoric power.
"On the whole," Dillard writes, " I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs,
sufficiently sensible of conditions.Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so
blithely invoke?" This statement implies that institutionalized religion has somehow lessened the
true emotions and freedoms of nature and experience.Perhaps the structure of an organized
religion sometimes require us to hide our genuine feelings, and replace them with what we are
suppose to be feeling, or following.
Dillard writes in a sly witty commanding tone that shines a mystical light around ideas in
the most straightforward prose.Even in the most surreal of sequences, we can still feel her
confusion, anxiety, and frustration. She writes, " The churches are children playing on the floor
with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning."Dillard, like her
fellow church-goers have come to this church in pursuit of the sublime, but the existence of many
banalities and contradictions seem to insult her sense of dignity.She seems to be saying that an
individual would be willingto sacrifice education, reason, and dignity for the sake of a glimpse of
the sacred and holy.It seems like the church should be projecting a

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