The Chase by Annie Dillard
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Annie Dillard wrote a short story called, “The Chase”. The story is about a little girl who plays like the boys. This young girl can easily hold her own against her young neighbor boy friends, and does. On a cold winter day as the children are throwing snowballs at cars for fun, they happen to hit a Buick, cracking the window. This then leads to an exhilarating chase between the children and a middle aged man. The story is read in many different ways, to me however, I see it as though a strong piece with countless items of structuralism working together to make an intriguing story.
Dillard uses many different styles of structuralism in order to keep you reading. One example would be her changing the point of view throughout the story. Dillard starts the story by talking about how the boys taught her to play sports; writing, “You thought up a new strategy for every play and whispered it to the others. You went out for a pass, fooling everyone.” She begins by putting “you” in the story almost forcing you to picture yourself doing these things, feeling the excitement of being on the field.
Dillard then goes on to switch the point of view in the next couple paragraphs; “Boys welcomed me at baseball, too, for I had, through enthusiastic practice, what is weirdly know as a boy’s arm.” Dillard does this because it gives you a chance to create a picture of who this girl is. Since not everyone can relate to having a “boy’s arm” this makes it easier to imagine.
Another use of structuralism used by Dillard would be her lists. The most appealing one in this story would be, “He chased Mikey and me around a yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart; under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps, and across the grocery stores delivery driveway. We smashed through a gap in another hedge, entered a scruffy backyard and ran around it’s back porch and tight between houses…” Dillard believes that the action in a story should not stop and by creating these lists she is doing just that. They create a lot of action within the story, and even though it may not be a big drawn out description of each item it works perfectly for this story because you do feel like you are running as fast as you can through all of these things.
Dillard has a countless number of different levels of structuralism in her work. The main two that make “The Chase” the story that it is would be the changing of point of view in the story and the use of lists.