Annie Dillard's "Holy the Firm": A participation in "the mass of the world"

Elisabeth Hedrick, University of Texas at El Paso


In the short novel Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard explores the relationship between time and eternity and between a good God and burnt children, but the answers she reaches seem just as baffling as the questions. After we reach the deepest pit of faithlessness, we are astonished to turn the page and find the narrator walking up a hill, worshipping God on a summit bathed in light. The source of this divine light is hidden from us. Readers will find the fountainhead of this light through comparing the language and images of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's The Divine Milieu with Dillard's Holy the Firm. As Dillard poetically takes her narrator up the spiritual path through matter that Teilhard describes, her writing becomes a means to ritually ingest the matter of the world. The final part of this work strives to ingest matter in a series of poetic rituals. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Hedrick, Elisabeth, "Annie Dillard's "Holy the Firm": A participation in "the mass of the world"" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1435311.