discussion and two replies

Learning Goal: I’m working on a philosophy discussion question and need support to help me learn.

here is a link to the book’s first two chapters

After reading chapters 1-2 of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek submit a discussion board posting that completes one of the following five options:

Option 1: Awakening

At the end of the second paragraph of the text, the narrator states:

“We wake, if ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence….’Seems like we’re just set down here,’ a woman said to me recently, ‘and don’t nobody know why.’” (Dillard, page 3)

Consider what it might mean to be either awake or asleep as a human being. If we accept it as true that some humans never wake at all, it follows that some of us in the class may be asleep while others are awake! Note further, that in this reading, the narrator is awoken by an external force: the cat that violently claws at the sleeping narrator. Using details from the Dillard text as support, sketch out some traits that might characterize the ‘sleeping human’ versus the ‘awake’ or ‘awakening human.’ Consider whether it is possible for sleeping humans to awaken on their own, or whether an external force is always required and provide support for your answer.

Option 2: An extended, emergency bivouac

On page 8 of the text the narrator states:

“That’s it’s rough out there and chancy is no surprise. Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended, emergency bivouac.”

Interpret what it might mean to say that every live thing is ‘a survivor an extended, emergency, bivouac.’ Use details from the text to support your interpretation. Develop two significant questions that follow from your interpretation. Explain why you find them significant.

Option 3: We must take a wider view

On page 10 of the Dillard text, the narrator exhorts:

Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

Identify supporting details from the text that indicate why the narrator believes that our life is filled with mystery. How does the analogy of the leaf miner support the claim that we must take a wider view? Why might describing “what’s going on here” serve as a pre-condition to learning to ask the right questions in life? Do you think that this is true? Why or why not?

Option 4: Seeing

In week one, we considered Siobhan Lyons’ suggestion that philosophers create concepts. One way of reading chapter two of the Dillard text would be to interpret it as the narrator’s attempt to develop different concepts of seeing to better describe and understand our experiences. Read chapter two of the Dillard text and identify at least two different types of seeing that the narrator describes and explain the difference between them. What might the different types of seeing imply about learning to ask the right questions in life? Use details from the text or from your own experiences to support your answer.

Option 5: Open Reading Question.

Develop your own reading question by following the instructions found in this week’s folder if you wish to complete this option. These instructions are also found in the Course Information folder.

Responses to classmates:

Develop a critical, sustained response to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

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