Bildungsroman
The rhetorical device bildungsroman is used to describe a ?coming to age of story?. This literary genre focuses on the overall growth, both psychologically and morally, of the protagonist throughout his or her life. Usually this growth is examined from youth to adulthood. An American Childhood is an autobiography of its author Anne Dillard. Anne, now an adult, recalls her childhood and models her happiness and a true ?american childhood?. She even states that in order to be truly happy one must the world?s attempts to suppress that spirit.
Theme: ?A curious life is a happy life?
It is widely known that infants explore the world around them by using their mouths. Everything the see, touch, smell, and hear goes through their mouths in order to be fully ?inspected? and so that curiosity to fully subside. Anne starts off her novel as a fiver year old. She is commencing to explore the world around her and is enthralled by its vastness. She recalls having a quiet life at home doing various activities and exploring various things. As she grows and matures her activities mature with her. But no matter what she does the main theme revolves around the idea that in order to be happy, one must fight the conscious of oneself and the world around them.
Simile: ?When we played the drums, he played lightly, coming down soft with the steel brushes that sounded like a Slinky falling, not making the beat but just sizzling along with it.?
Dillard uses the simile of the Slinky to describe the sound the steel brushes made on the drum
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whenever they were played. In Jazz music the sound of steel brushes is very common and is used as an effect to just ?mosey? along with the beat of the song. Dillard describes this as a sizzling sound.Since Slinkys are also made of metal they have a similar sound as the metal brushes. This quote express figurative language and the main theme of the novel. As a youngin? she was able to make this connection through the creativity that sparked inside her. From a very young child she demonstrated to be a very brilliant child.
Personification:?You are living,? the ice box motor said.?It is morning, morning, here in the kitchen, and you are in it.? the icebox motor said, or the dripping faucet said, or any of the hundred other noisy things that only children can?t stop hearing.
Personification is when non-human objects are given human qualities like those of being able to speak and think. In this case, Dillard, is saying that as a child her imagination gave the icebox and the faucet the ability to speak. However, the icebox in reality was just making the sound of a humming motor, but to Dillard it was the icebox saying, ?You are living.?
Description: The walls squeaked, the pipes knocked, the screen door trembled, the furnace banged, and the radiators clanged.
With the use of description Dillard creates a scene that has the reader imply that Dillard lived in a small, cottage-like house as a child. The way that we know this is by the radiator because older houses tend to have radiators. Also the screen door has that effect of giving the house an older appeal
Anadiplosis: The interior life is often stupid. Its egoism blinds and deafens it; its imagination spins out ignorant tales, fascinated. It fancies that the western wind blows on the Self, and leaved fall at the feet of the Self for a reason, and people are watching.
The word ?it? is repeated several times and refers the the ?interior life that is stupid?.
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Anadiplosis is the repetition in the first part of a clause or sentence or a prominent word. In this case the prominent word would be ?it?. In the context around it, Dillard describes how interior life is dull and therefore prefers the outdoor life.
Anecdote
An American Childhood is made up of mostly anecdotes. Dillard remembers and tells the story of her childhood. Basically An American Childhood is a series of anecdotes categorized in chronological order. Every chapter in Dillard?s novel focuses on a certain event in her life. For example, the chapter about the interior focuses on her life as a five year old inside and how the ?ghostly? figure would creep into her room. Finally she figured out it was the reflection