What Was Annie Dillard’s Purpose of Writing the Essay “The Chase?”

Annie Dillard’s purpose of writing “The Chase” was to highlight the differences between children and adults. Dillard also wrote the story to entertain readers by recounting a comical childhood experience. Her extensive descriptions of the chase bring the story to life so the reader can experience her joy and excitement.

“The Chase” begins with Dillard recounting her experiences playing sports with the neighborhood boys. She makes it clear that she was the only girl who played these sports because she was considered to have a “boy’s arm,” meaning she was good at throwing footballs and baseballs. She uses this introduction to set the stage for the chase.

Dillard then describes a snowy afternoon in her neighborhood. She mentions how she and the neighborhood boys had been throwing snowballs at cars, when suddenly, a snowball hit a man in the face. She blames the direct hit on her excellent throwing arm. The following paragraphs explain how Dillard and the boys were chased by the man throughout the streets, over fences and through backyards.

Eventually, Dillard and her friend, Mike, are cornered by the man. Although she is expecting something drastic to happen, she is shocked when the man simply states, “You stupid kids.” Relieved she will live to see another day, Dillard states, “Nothing has required so much of me since as being chased all over Pittsburgh in the middle of winter – running terrified, exhausted – by this sainted, skinny, furious red-headed man who wished to have a word with us.” The moral of her story is some experiences are worth the risk if the person enjoys the chase.