"Bloodied and Mauled": Nature’s Violent God in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Holy the Firm Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Smith, Joanna
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Religious Studies
  • This thesis traces Annie Dillard’s violent visions of nature through Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Holy the Firm. Within the two books, Dillard iconoclastically shatters the capital-N image of Nature as peaceful, balanced, and patterned. In its place, she offers a portrait of nature as bloody and brutal, relentlessly burgeoning with ever-new forms of predation, parasitism, and death. The first half of this thesis explores Dillard’s depiction of the violence underpinning the natural world. The second half goes on to examine her insistence that God exists within this violence rather than in spite of it. Staring at nature’s violence head-on and urging her readers to do the same, Dillard brings a radically new set of theological questions into the broad tradition of American nature writing. Ultimately, she allows herself to linger and dwell in the dissonant space between the violent realities of nature and any notions of a scrutable God.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Ariel, Yaakov
  • Bayne, Brandon
  • Styers, Randall
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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