AN OVERVIEW A religious believer in any culture may sometimes look beyond the local temple, church, or shrine, feel the call of some distant holy place renowned for miracles and the revivification of faith, and resolve to journey there. Once, in a place apart, there appeared a very holy person; miracles occurred at that place and drew multitudes of pilgrims. Later, a shrine was built by devotees.
No chapter, however, is limited to what is happening at Tinker Creek in a given month. Rather, the chapters are thematic, as indicated by their titles. There is a larger theme of spirituality, as the book explores the two routes to God in the tradition of neoplatonic Christianity.
The book starts with what is perhaps its best-known scene: She showers away the scarlet marks, musing on what it means to wake to beauty and violence from unknown adventures. The scene sets the tone for the rest of the book, which treads a tightrope between opposites.
Dillard says that a partial inspiration for the book comes from writer Henry David Thoreau, who, in composing Walden: Or, Life in the Woodswanted to find a way to keep a journal of mind; Dillard, like Thoreau, is certainly a Transcendentalist.
Dillard maintains this whirlwind style throughout the book. She is a storyteller, and she realizes the story of the land is more than just the recollections of daily walks through the land—it includes all the writing and research that has come before, from folklore to religion to small-town news.
She often refers to what she is reading or has read or wants to read, leading to chapters that form encyclopedias of the sublime.
Her prose moves effortlessly and with exuberance, as if she is encountering all these ideas the same way she encounters critters and plants on her walks along the creek. By the middle of the book, Dillard starts to link new observations to metaphors and philosophies from the beginning of the book.
She has already established that the creek represents mystery. An earlier chapter examines sight, while a later chapter muses on shadows. The river, the mystery, and the shadow merge in one moment, leading to clarity, and Dillard is spiritually charged by the sudden understanding.
Should humans concern themselves with the question of who created the planet? Should humans be concerned with why the planet was created? Her mood takes a darker turn as she quips about how amazing it is that there can exist in nature anything beautiful at all.
The delights of mystery and understanding cannot last uninterrupted. Readers notice an immediate tonal shift as Dillard watches the swollen river and remembers the catastrophic flooding from tropical storm Agnes in She describes horrific things caught in the flood water, like dead horses.
From any flood comes fecundity, the title of chapter Staying with her cynical view of nature, Dillard creates a litany of instances where growth is astonishing and scary and seemingly illogical. She touches on her usual odd cases—the tenacity of cockroaches, the horrors of parasitic wasps, the peculiar barnacle.
She also includes her fascination with the number of miles of roots one plant produces; how lacewings eat their own eggs, even as they lay them; and how planarians feast upon their discarded tails.
She refers to all these life cycles as ordained yet infused with the luck of survival. The book next examines stalking, which is clearly an analogy to meditation. To stalk a muskrat, Dillard has to wait in one place for the animal to come to her. No matter how much is known, Dillard is saying, there forever remains the unknown—the essence of via negativa.
The next few chapters cover copperhead snakes, leeches, snapping turtles, and parasites, all things that Dillard has encountered and feels compelled to discuss with the same wonder she applied to muskrats, water bugs, and woodpeckers from the first half of the book.
This wonder, however, is tinged with revulsion and, in the case of the copperhead, an awareness of danger. Dillard asserts that a marvelous creator must have dreamed up these things, even if the result is tattered butterflies, maimed spiders, and scarred turtles. Circling back to a metaphor to extend this story, she talks about avoiding starvation; she cites Ezekiel, who told people to explore the gaps—the little places, the low-down crevices, the cracks too easily ignored.
Dillard implores readers to stalk these gaps, as she has done in this book. Also, her writing is environmental writing of a different breed. Her focus is not on industrialization, pollution, or rampant progress, nor is it a defense of one endangered species or place. There is no doubt, however, that she is concerned about the environment and knows the dangers of modern consumption.
She has chosen, however, to engage readers with the sheer mystery, beauty, terror, and even humor of one creek in one state.
That this book won the Pulitzer Prize shows how desperately readers needed, and continue to need, her viewpoint.Christian meets Faithful, a traveler from his hometown. Faithful and Christian are joined by a third pilgrim, Talkative, whom Christian spurns. Evangelist arrives and warns Faithful and Christian about the wicked town of Vanity, which they will soon enter.
Evangelist foretells that either Christian or . From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Pilgrim’s Progress Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
Published in by the English writer and preacher John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress is an extended allegory about the journey of the main character, a man named "Christian," from the City of. Compared with later groups who founded colonies in New England, such as the Puritans, the Pilgrims of Plymouth failed to achieve lasting economic success.
After the early s, some prominent members of the original group, including Brewster, Winslow and Standish, left the . Research Paper Topics; The Pilgrim's Progress Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary John Bunyan. Homework Help. Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary Can you write a short summary of The Pilgrim.
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