Essay: Coping With Life There Are Numerous Points

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¶ … Coping With Life

There are numerous points of comparisons to be found between Annie Dillard's essay entitled "Total Eclipse and Randy Shilts' essay entitled "Talking AIDS To Death." The central premise of both essays is certainly one such point, which is the eventual dissolution of life before the yawning maw of death. However, there are a number of specific aspects of these works detailing the importance of life and its intrinsic properties such as time, immortality (or the lack thereof) and certain attributes of death in which the writers either eminently present contrasting opinions or share startling similarities. A close examination of both of these texts, however, reveals the fact that Dillard ends her chronicle of and journey of death on a more peaceful, accepting note, whereas Shilts' essay concludes in a similar array of doubt and disbelief which typified the majority of the author's metaphorical journey while composing this particular piece of literature.

In order to properly assess the facets of life and its partnership with death that Dillard finds to be of importance in "Total Eclipse," one should consider the overarching circumstances in which her essay was composed and in what, on a literal level, it inherently reveals. The author traveled with her husband (who was recently deceased at the time of the essay's writing) to a location in which they can view a total eclipse -- the effect of which helped the author to contextualize life, the seemingly immortal nature of God's design (such as the earth and the sun), as well as the relatively modest role in which mankind plays in all of these varying designs. The essay, of course, utilizes the conception of the eclipse as a metaphor for the quickening accuracy of death, while revealing the profundity of certain acts and rituals in life which the following quotation makes readily apparent.

We teach our children one thing only, as we were taught: to wake up. We teach our children to look alive there, to join by words and activities the life of human culture on the planet's crust…We live half our waking lives and all of our sleeping lives in some private, useless, and insensible waters we never mention or recall…Valueless, I might add -- until someone hauls the wealth up to the surface and into the wide awake city, in a form that people can use (Dillard).

There are a number of salient aspects of this quote, not the least of which is the value that the author attributes to the joining of activities that are part of life and which she refers to as a sense of waking up and looking alive. The half-awoke moments of going through the motions of life are devalued by the author, who largely conceives of the immortal facet of death as arriving with the celeritous speed and rapid time of the spreading of the shadow of the eclipse.

There are a number of points in Shilts' essay that are at considerable variance to these notions propagated by Dillard.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Coping With Life There Are Numerous Points.  (2011, December 9).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/coping-life-numerous-points/1601710

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