Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Annie Dillard's An American Childhood. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
An American Childhood: Introduction
An American Childhood: Plot Summary
An American Childhood: Detailed Summary & Analysis
An American Childhood: Themes
An American Childhood: Quotes
An American Childhood: Characters
An American Childhood: Symbols
An American Childhood: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Annie Dillard
Historical Context of An American Childhood
Other Books Related to An American Childhood
- Full Title: An American Childhood
- When Written: c. 1987
- Where Written: U.S.
- When Published: 1987
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Memoir
- Antagonist: Dillard doesn’t identify one clear antagonist, although she describes her teenage self as considering any authority figures, from her parents to her teachers to her minister, as natural antagonists. Since An American Childhood is largely the story of Dillard’s intellectual development, much of the struggle for self-definition takes place within Annie’s own mind.
- Point of View: The memoir is told in the first person, but there is an obvious separation between the child Annie and the mature adult who is telling the story. Often Dillard will intrude in the narration to comment on the limitations of her childhood character, as well as to make general comments on childhood and growing up.
Extra Credit for An American Childhood
When We Were Young In 1974, when she was 28, Annie Dillard became the youngest American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Playing With the Boys After graduating from Hollins College, Dillard’s main hobby—other than reading and writing—was playing on the softball team with the male graduate students, a continuation of the baseball games she played with her neighbor Ricky in Pittsburgh.