An American Childhood

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An American Childhood In Annie Dillards "An American Childhood", which is an autobiograhpy, she writes many times about her "awakenings" as a child. I see these moments as times that Annie becomes aware of her own body and its presence in the living world. She has numerous "awakenings" because, like all people, she must learn the same lesson many times before it sticks. Although each of the waking moments are alike, they also each impower her with different information about existing on Earth.

When she was five, Annie "would not go to bed willingly because something came into (her) room. If I spoke of it, it would kill me." (Pg.20). The thing would start at one point and move across the wall, and had several sections like a dragon. It also made noise. She would freeze, and she "dared not blink or breath." The thing might return later that night, or it may never come at all; it was a game.

One night, Annie awoke. She made the correlation between the noise the thing made, and the sound a passing car made in the daytime. This dicovery was huge. She started to understand that inside and outside happened at the same time, and that at any given moment in time, other people were living out there lives in the world. She realizes that "the world did not have me in mind," meaning she was not the center of everyones attention at all times. When she slept, the outside world did not.

Annie becomes self-conciese at this point also, noticing that she was just "a child walking up the sidewalk, whom anyone could see or ignore." (Pg. 22) Many times, even as older people, we still sometimes forget that we have a physical body that our minds are...