Writer employs different skills when writing their work they can decide to use first person narrative of third person. The decision depend on the writer and what the content of his writing. This is evident when comparing Annie Dillard and Rick Bass.
Bass writes novels about man’s interaction with nature. He knows very many things about the natural environment and this is evident in the way he writes his work. He usually uses men occupied in traditional male duties. Most of his characters are hunters, anglers, and ranchers.
In his novel ‘winter’, he uses the first person narrator to tell his story in the mountains during the winter. Through his narrators, he shows his deep respect for nature and the need to protect it. His narrators have a supernatural pragmatism with nature. He uses these characters to take the readers through the endangered wilderness. These men respect the natural environment and believe that their interaction with nature will give those clues on the way forward.
One can never know what to expect from these characters. He uses surprise in his writings. The characters can do anything at any particular time making the reader anxious. He knows how to make the situations believable and persuade the reader to believe that the situation a character is in is real. He uses his characters in a colorful and imaginative manner, making story interesting.
Bass uses nature as a character in his stories. He makes the natural environment to seem as if it is the one narrating the story. He takes us though the different aspects of nature. In the ‘winter’ he shows us through flashback how the narrator enjoys skating. He goes out in the morning to skate and hopes that his wife and children do not forget the chilly mornings during the winter. Skating in the cold makes his blood chilly, but he appreciates nature and still has the urge to go out and interact with nature (Dobrin, 388).
The problem with Bass’s characters is that he does not give women a big role in his stories. His main characters are men who seem like the only one appreciating nature. Women are a part of nature and love it as he illustrates in the ‘winter’. The narrator says that his wife Elizabeth wanted a place that was isolated and not polluted; she wanted a place that was clean with fresh air.
Annie Dillard also uses the same narrative techniques as Risk Bass. She uses first person narrative. She takes us through her experience in the wilderness with the five North American men. She also uses the deer to show her compassion for nature. They see a wounded deer that was caught by a dog. The villagers plan to eat the deer that night. She sees the suffering the deer is going through and that there is nothing she can do to help.
She loves nature and uses the suffering the deer is going through as it tries to free itself from the rope to show how human beings are concerned about the environment. However, the way she uses her characters is different from Bass’s. The male characters in her story are more concerned about how she takes the situation because she is a woman. ‘They look at her, as she is busy looking at the wounded deer’.
Annie and Bass have one thing in common; they both love nature and their stories are based in the wilderness. Both of them use narrators who take the readers through the hardships they encounter in the wilderness. The narrators take us through the day-to-day activities in the wilderness.
Annie uses the deer to show how man is destroying them. ‘The deer is going to be eaten by the villagers’. The narrator wonders later on why man has to be omnivores. Both authors use narrator to show their love for the environment and the need to preserve it. Annie does not however, get to make the reader feel her connection to the environment. She watches the deer struggling, but feels nothing.
The two writers try to use the narrators to show their feelings about the environment. Bass is able to achieve this in his novel the ‘winter’. He manages to make the reader feel his attachment to the wilderness. He is able to relate well to the topic because he has spent his life in the wilderness and understands it better. His narration using the first person also give the feeling that he knows what he is writing very well. Annie on the other hand, fails to do so. Her first person narrator is not caring. She does not feel any pity towards the young deer, who is struggling to free itself. She says that one of the men with her compared her to his wife. He said that his wife would have been very restless. She would have probably done something to help the wounded deer.
The two writers use the narrative technique to make the readers feel as if they are the ones experiencing the tale. The use of first person narrative makes the reader follow the story and poses the question ‘what if it were you? What would you have done? The narrators know the environment better and their view is regarded as the most knowledgeable one. In the ‘winter’, the narrator loves his surrounding even though it is very cold. He says that he loves the warm feeling when the snow has just begun. This is very different from the way Annie makes us to feel. She does not seem to appreciate her environment and does nothing to save the deer. Bass is able to make the reader to feel his love for nature through his narrator something, which Annie fails to do.