The Theme of Exploration and Nature, Essay Sample

Published: 2022-03-31
The Theme of Exploration and Nature, Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Environment Annie Dillard
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 607 words
6 min read

The overlapping themes in John Stilgoe's book "Outside Lies Magic," and Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek "is that of exploration and nature. Stilgoe is a fan of railroad tracks, alleys, meandering urban streams and forgotten rights-of-way which do not provide much emphasis on the human-made property. Annie Dillard delivers her ideas concerning sight which means appreciating the natural world and delving into understanding it through vision. The arguments provided in this section are concerning the second chapter.

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The Theme of Exploration and Nature

In the first chapter of Outside Lies Magic, Stilgoe, through introduction states that walking and bicycle provided a unique entry into the idea of exploration itself. Stilgoe also added that the built environment, landscape, the ordinary space surrounding an adult explorer was not something for interpretation, reading or understanding. It was not a television show or a museum. Different from everything else which attract the attention of adults, built and natural form which surrounds an explorer are importantly mysterious (Stilgoe, 1999). The exploration of these forms awakens the dormant resiliency which is fund in the youth and the ease in willingly admitting making wrong choices and going back some by some blocks. The author, through different words, suggests that it is critical for one to understand that given explorations demand more than an afternoon. Also, many things in the streets do not make a lot of sense. This helps in the sharpening of skills and in making explorers understand that every acquired skill in poking and probing shared space is the training of dealing with life experiences. The noticing of house paint nuances and viewing patterns of geography from the top of a hill which people often do not bother to climb is part of the handling of what life brings across. The theme of nature is also evident in this passage, given that Stilgoe is an admirer of nature itself.

The second chapter, "Seeing," from the Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard demonstrates a new means of not only viewing but visualizing the world about the perceptions of human beings. In her mission to understand the manner in which people see the world, Dillard demonstrates how dark and light impact sight and how the mind processes it. Dillard explains the idea of sight in different ways, and it is mostly used in the exploration of her surroundings. Dillard talks of natural surroundings at Tinker Creek to help with the narration of ideas which can be missed by vision. According to Dillard, the things which we see help in the definition of our lives, which helps us live fully and evade superficiality. The theme of nature is evident in the second chapter. Dillard explains her habits in childhood, where she could hide a penny in sidewalks and drawing an arrow for a stranger to locate. She also proceeds to state about birds. Through these acts, Dillard is trying to pass the message that nature appearances are gifts which should be appreciated. She derives her happiness from what she sees and how she sees it ("Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Anne Dillard," 1974).


The essay by Dillard shows the dependence of sight on what an individual is accustomed to and what one is willing to learn and put effort into. This forms the theme of exploration. The ideas of Stilgoe on the issue of exploration is that it helps in the reclamation of the senses of an individual and viewing the world in different dimensions.


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Anne Dillard. (1974). The American Biology Teacher, 36(8), 516-516. doi:10.2307/4444963

Stilgoe, J. R. (1999). Outside lies magic: Regaining history and awareness in everyday places. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

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