God! A figure of love and forgiveness to many, a figure of fear to others. Pulitzer Prize winning essayist Annie Dillard illustrates the differences and similarities on how one feels about God in her essays “On a Hill Far Away” and “God in the Doorway”. Dillard explores children’s fear of God by comparing her portrayal of herself with the child on the hill, using common motifs, symbols, and differences of tone to contrast the two reactions.
With the reverence of God also comes the fear of the almighty. This fear can push one away from society, setting one apart from the rest. Isolation is a motif prevalent in both essays, affecting the Dillard and the boy in different ways. Dillard reflects upon herself as a young girl in “God in the Doorway” where fear had driven her away from her loving family as she hides herself in her room. Her terror comes in the form of Santa Claus, causing her to run from her family. During the incident on Christmas Eve, Dillard recalls that her, “mother called and called, enthusiastic, pleading; I wouldn’t come down. My father encouraged me; my sister howled. I wouldn’t come down” (Dillard 138). Dillard’s fear of Santa drove herself away from her family, causing Dillard to hide from her fear rather than confront it. In “On a Hill Far Away”, the boy’s faith places him in a very different state of isolation. In contrast to Dillard, he didn’t push himself away, but longed for company, someone who could understand him and his beliefs. In the essay,