Total Eclipse, We See Two Writers Essay

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¶ … Total Eclipse," we see two writers who have a very personal or -- perhaps, better stated -- psychological connections to the nature that surrounds them. Ehrlich discusses her beloved Wyoming in her essay and has given it an apt title as she describes being able to drive for miles without seeing another person. She says: "The solitude in which westerners live makes them quiet" (Ehrlich 6). This may seem obvious is one considers that being in a place like Wyoming means you will see more animals than you will people. Dillard begins her essay discussing her drive with her husband Gary to watch the total eclipse. The journey took five hours through snowy mountains that eventually melt and change into green valleys. Dillard says, "I watched the landscape innocently, like a fool, like a diver in the rapture of the deep who plays on the bottom while his air runs out" (Dillard 3) -- another sentence that seems to evoke a certain solitude and silence. In these two quotes taken from Ehrlich's and Dillard's essays, the reader is able to feel the power of the two places being witnessed by its authors and how they are allowing nature to overcome them, in a sense. Both Ehrlich and Dillard allow themselves to sit and witness the space around them, mesmerized and awestruck. They do not fight what they see nor do they try to change how they feel.

Ehrlich describes the open spaces of Wyoming as beautiful, but it can also be harsh at times too, with the weather in the winter getting bitterly cold. She writes, "The landscape hardens into a dungeon of space. During the winter, while I was riding to find a new calf, my jeans froze to the saddle, and in the silence that such cold creates I felt like the first person on earth, or the last" (Ehrlich 2). While "a dungeon of space" out of context may evoke some kind of terror and dread, in Ehrlich's description, it evokes peace. The reader also gets the sense that Dillard is very aware of how big and great the world is as she stands looking upon the Yakima valley. She looks upon it as if it is some kind of dream or a Shangri-la (Dillard 6). She notes the sky that seems to go on forever. As Dillard describes her experience of taking in the world around her, it feels as if she, too, is the first (or last) person on earth. Gary, her husband, isn't mentioned in these paragraphs; it is just Dillard and nature. Dillard's awareness of the phenomenon that is the total eclipse is clear. She says,

What you see in an eclipse is entirely different from what you know. It is especially different for those of us whose grasp of astronomy is so frail that, given a flashlight, a grapefruit, two oranges, and fifteen years, we still could not figure out which way to set the clocks for daylight… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Total Eclipse, We See Two Writers.  (2011, December 9).  Retrieved December 15, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Total Eclipse, We See Two Writers."  9 December 2011.  Web.  15 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Total Eclipse, We See Two Writers."  December 9, 2011.  Accessed December 15, 2019.