Stereotypes In Annie Dillard's An American Childhood

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The two main subjects of Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” are the author’s coming to terms with the intersection of race and opportunity, and her disappointment with fictional literature. 10-year-old Annie Dillard understands how gender and racial stereotypes play a huge role in her 5th-grade world. “I nevertheless imagined, perhaps from the authority and freedom of it, that its author was a man.” During the 1950s, males had more authority in their everyday life compared to women. For example, they are given power over women, they had better jobs than women and men and typically the men have a better education for more of them went to college. In the quote above, Dillard explains how she assumes since the voice has power, it is a male. She puts women into a category of powerless…show more content…
“When I checked out The Field Book of Ponds and Streams for the second time, I noticed the book’s card.” The book’s card is filled out with the names of many Negro adults. She is shocked to see that she is not the only person to check out this particular book. “I no more expected anyone else on earth to have read a book I had read than I expected someone to have twirled the same blade of grass.” It has been checked out by the Negroes of Homewood and therein lies the author's theme of commonality. Annie Dillard realizes how similar she is to the Negroes. They have dreams, intellects and goals just like her. However, “The Homewood residents whom I knew had little money and little free time.” The Negroes were a working class, with some visibly living in poverty in damaged overcrowded houses. Dillard thought the Negroes would not be interested in the studies of science. “They dreamed of ponds and streams. They were saving to buy microscopes. In their bedrooms, they fashioned plankton nets. But their hopes were even more vain than more, for I was a child, and anything might happen; they were adults living in Homewood. There was neither pond or stream on the
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