The Upstream And Downstream Of Seeing By Annie Dillard

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The Upstream and Downstream of Seeing Annie Dillard’s “Seeing” discusses the two possible ways to properly see things and relates them to light versus darkness in nature and upstream versus downstream of a river. The essay explains that there are two ways to see things in the world; to look for something specifically or to let go of the desire to see something. Both types of seeing are also combined with either brightness or darkness and with either upstream or downstream. Dillard has trouble seeing anything in the upstream of the river because that part of the river is always dark or cloudy. On the other hand, she can see the animals in the downstream of the river, where everything is bright and lively. The river is split in two different symbols which help show the best way that one should view nature. The downstream and the upstream of the river have unique characteristics because they also compare to being darkness and light. By using powerful imagery and word choice, Dillard is able to compare the two types of seeing and explain why letting go of the want to see is the best way to look at things. Dillard’s powerful imagery throughout the essay is crucial for understanding the differences in seeing. For example, she is able to describe something as broad as nature by using a simile such as “nature is like one of those line drawings of a tree that are puzzles for children” (19). Since Dillard writes with such a loose structure, the imagery she creates helps clarify

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