“Living like Weasels” is an essay by Annie Dillard that theorizes on the author’s idea of living a true and natural life, as enlightened to her on her first encounter with a weasel at her local pond. In her writing, she describes the weasel’s nature of life, the natural instinct as well as the tenacity it possesses within. She believes that in that meeting with the weasel, both of them communicated profoundly and deeply without words.
Dillard suggests that it is better to live like a weasel, which is to live free, mindless and focused on mortal survival. With such abilities, humans will gain a clear understanding of their life aspirations and apply whatever means necessary to achieve them. As she states, “The way is like the weasels: open to time and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering nothing, choosing the given fierce and pointed will (25).”Having to live without mindfulness, one would rarely put weight on the passage of time or the inevitable approach of death. Many critics have interpreted Dillard’s words to be saying that one should live not dwelling on the past or prospects of the future, but purely at the moment.
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A weasel-like life of mindlessness will allow one to exist “under the wild rose” where he/she takes the experiences precious moments of life, taking in daily experiences without lingering on the unnecessary worries. She asserts that “The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse (66).” In Dillard’s view, the weasel’s proficiency of focusing will endow humans with the ability to make good lifestyle choices.In my opinion, the author’s hypothesis is quite reasonable as it will allow humans to live by necessity instead of limited choices.
The concept of freedom in a weasel’s life is to live with the obligation to answer to the true calling of survival. As stated by Dillard, “I think it would be well… to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you (68).” This quote endorses the greatest proficiency of all, a life of freedom. People may arrive at a myriad of conclusions, but Annie Dillard’s interpretation in “Living Like Weasels” is that being free or wild is to pursue one’s goals; with focus and an undying will to succeed.