Annie Dillard was very creative in writing “Total Eclipse” sending a message within a message. This style of writing can develop confusion with the first attempt of reading this different style of writing. It creates a spark of interest due to the creative messages that Dillard purposely placed within the text. This introduction of clever writing persuades you to make another attempt to reread Dillard’s essay to obtain the full messages. Attentive to Dillard’s issues and concerns brings a question to surface that she might be hesitate to admit. Was Dillard taking the beginning steps towards her acceptance that life continues after a life changing experience? The “Total Eclipse” vividly displays Dillard’s grieving for her beloved husband Gary which resulted in a stalemate, a motionless picture frame of life. Do understand the passing of a love one is very difficult to accept then admitting that there is a need to continue to move on without them can be unbearable. Dillard was content with her place in life, having no interest in advancement. Dillard’s moment in time was to make an announcement to the people who have been set into their ways of life; as Dillard had been. They too were also reluctant to adapt to the newness of life, but their time for change had arrived as well. These are people who consider themselves as frequent readers who have no interest in technology; as well as, educators who are known for reading and writing articles in magazines and newspapers. Dillard’s persuasion to gather the support of like minded people to seek and appreciate the new era, the 80’s, the new discovery in life, and advance technology. The 80’s technology was a huge success with the usage of machines that included a keyboard and a large screen where the typing on the screen was either white or green, these machines are called computers. Computers were beneficial to many for its usage of storage for large files of information. Dillard spoke of technology as it was introduced to her and how this new technology helped her release her motionless life after the death of her husband and move forward in her life, which develops into her new beginning. Further: while the mind reels in deep space, while the mind grieves of fears or exults, the workaday sense, in ignorance or idiocy, like so many computer terminals printing out market price while the world blows up, still transcribe their little data and transmit them to warehouse in the skull. Dillard’s “Total Eclipse” was her way of acknowledging that this new 80’s era was not a fade it was here to stay. These systems were beginning to be used for several things. Tune into the awaking moment as she takes notice with such surprise claiming (the student), “He was a walking alarm clock” (168), which at that instant she was willing and ready to walk out of her comfort zone and welcome a new interest in technology. It took one youthful, exciting person to bring Dillard back to life as if wind blew across her face to give her a jump start, as if a line of hope was at her reach, with a new purpose to enjoy life every moment and every day. Dillard had been introduced into a new world of technology which brings her into a new way of living. Moving forward to accept death and welcoming a new relationship with advance technology is a step towards Dillard’s revitalizing herself. She stressed that, “It was good to be back among clever people” (168). These cleaver people might have been advanced in science and technology as well as computers as they gathered together with the same interest of watching a total eclipse. These clever people might have been the energy Dillard needed to enjoy the moment.
Planning a trip to catch a total eclipse seems to be a welcoming of new discoveries. Anticipating for this change as the cloud moves slowly across the sun, and knowing it is approaching brings a brace for the interest in the scientific curiosity from within as well as acknowledging this can alert her into her newness. “Seeing it, and knowing it was coming straight for you, was like feeling a slug of anesthetic shoot up your arm” (170). A warm welcome with the determination to travel highs and lows, up and down hundreds of feet hills and having the perceptive that life moves rapidly as rushing through tiny walls of your veins and the anesthetic travels at fast speeds as if a rollercoaster creating a rush, a flash before your eyes as it works itself through the body as well as watching the total eclipse arrives. Take a moment in the past and reflect how the simple things can create such a profound notation that points to the simplest of life. As Dillard awaits in the hotel lobby she notice a fish tank and to bring that into her writing it directed me into what it takes to be living, the necessities needed as shelter, water, light and food. Dillard notice the fish movement and the effort it took to tilted upward as she did by taking an effort to reach a hilltop she also tilted upward to get a glimpse of the total eclipse. “On the broad lobby desk, lighted and bubbling, was a ten gallon aquarium containing one large fish; the fish tilted up and down in its water”(161). This ten gallon aquarium is the world with the sun light shinning over it providing light, which stimulates growth and helps to energize all living things. The fish floating upward with the mouth perched open to inhale air and goes back downward to its environment is very similar again to Dillard making an attempt to see the total eclipse with climbing hills and returning back to her environment afterwards. The conclusion is that there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it (eclipse or death). As it approaches accept it and adapt to it by welcoming the change. Watching an eclipse can become an new interest due to witnessing something that doesn’t happen often, as well as understanding death that it brings darkness as a eclipse which then the light surface in turns bringing acceptance of life.
Dillard’s memories flashed crossed her face as she realized that she must gather herself and acceptance was required for the change. She states that, “I was watching a faded color print of a movie filmed in the Middle Ages; I was standing in it, by some mistake” (165). Have Dillard been lost and in a state of confusion that once she got a glimpse of herself in the flashback she noticed it was bizarre and that she must progress. With Dillard agreeing with this newness she points towards her new level of life, new level of understanding, and a new level of acceptance. With this development it seems as if again she had awaked and exhaled all of her issues with life. As I reviewed Dillard’s essay again it seems that she had several moments where she had a total eclipse besides the real total eclipse. Dillard’s wasn’t completely filled. “It can never be satisfied, the mind, never” (Wallace Stevens, 169). The mind is an extension of life that must have a steady hand at attaining knowledge; it must be feed daily. Gaining knowledge often and having the will to improve is considered as feeding your mind leading to a plate of food for nutrition. As her level of life is feed she realizes that you’re never too old to learn new things. “The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy” (169). Those two eggs over easy are her first mind and second mind that’ll take two difference journeys. Dillard expressed that your conscience will lead you in the right direction by following your first mind and do not second guess yourself. Dillard’s acceptance to unknown territory is becoming more accepted to her new beginning. This gathers my thoughts that Dillard appreciated the progress she gained towards life and science which works together.
With such great progress Dillard must take steps to bring all aboard to her new found discovery. The interest that was gained was that understanding there are followers with a huge impact on technology. These clever people can make the most difficult turn to the simplest. “Later, under the tranquilizing influence of fried eggs, the mind can sort through this data” (169). Dillard realized that all this knowledge, the new data can run through your mind as you appreciate such greatness with the machines. All the things they are able to do, the huge memories are fundamental to gaining those educators, readers and writers to examine this newness and take advantage of it by allowing their curiosity to open the door.