Annie Dillard's 'Nightwatch': Pilgrim At Tinker Creek

933 Words4 Pages

In “Nightwatch”, a chapter of the novel Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard guides the reader through an experience with migrating eels, creates vibrant mental images, and involves the readers with her own thoughts. This is all accomplished through the use of rhetorical strategies, namely diction, figurative language, syntax, and imagery; these elements culminate in Dillard’s intense, guiding tone that involves the readers with the eel experience.
Diction is vital to creating Dillard’s fervent and guiding tone throughout “Nightwatch.” The use of gruesome and detailed words like “milling… mingling” and “seething… squirming, jostling,” causes the reader to erupt in silent shivers. Alliteration throughout the passage creates power and emphasis that falls on descriptive words. While alliteration intensifies the tone, word choice guides the reader through the narrator's thought process. “Alright:”, just that simple word, makes sure that the reader is understanding the …show more content…

Her description of the eels is elaborate and vivid. “Tremble and sway,” and “slide into the creek,” are just a few examples of the many ways Dillard forces her audience to imagine the slithering creatures in order for them to connect with the narrator about the grotesque experience. Towards the end of the passage it becomes clear that the narrator is conflicted about the eels when she asks questions. Sentences 10, 11, and 12 create a picture of two different choices the narrator could make, causing the reader to sense her internal struggle. These difficult choices allow Dillard to open up her mind to the audience while she leaves the conclusion a mystery, adding suspense and intensity to the passage.Dillard guides her audience through the eel passage with her vivid, chronological

Open Document