Opposites Life is full of mystery. People, animals, and nature have these mysterious characteristics that are strange and unknown to anyone. The universe is composed of so many beautiful things, but at the same time these beautiful wonders can also be the most violent and unpleasant. LeGuin and Dillard wrote of "opposites", one dealing with man and his psychological structure, and the other, with nature and everything in it. Both authors start their essays with a story to help understand their thesis, and then they begin to explain and support their ideas. In Heaven and Earth In Jest, Dillard uses more of a comparison approach to help the reader better understand her thesis.
For example, she wrote, "And some mornings I'd wake in daylight to find my body covered with paw prints in blood: I looked as though I'd been painted with roses." She describes how she would wake up sometimes in the morning to find her body covered with blood, from the cat that would jump through her window, but she uses a comparison technique, making the event seem horrific, but at the same time beautiful. She writes, "It could have been the rose of union, the blood of murder, or the rose of beauty bare and the blood of some unspeakable sacrifice or birth." Dillard uses comparison to make the blood seem both mysterious and deathly, but also beautiful. In The Child and the Shadow, LeGuin uses more of a symbolic technique. The man representing all that is civilized, and the shadow representing the dark side of the man's soul.
Dillard's essay, Heaven and Earth In Jest, points out nature's violence, but also it's mystery. She begins to tell stories of beauty in nature, such as watching frogs by the water, and ends them by a giant water bug eating the frog. Dillard begins each story with beauty and ends it with a tragic event. LeGuin's essay, The Child and the Shadow, emphasizes on a person's conscious and unconscious mind.
She focuses on the way people act and how their mind affects their actions. LeGuin says, "They do not act by rules; they simply know the way to go," meaning that most people just know in their minds what is the right and wrong thing to do, and react on their certainty. She believes it is a battle between the conscious and unconscious mind, and people act and do certain things due to the unconscious mind. A part of a person, that no one really knows and understands, not even the person themselves. Life is mysterious. It is full of events, in nature and in ourselves, that we will not fully understand.
Battles in our minds, between our conscious and unconscious, and battles in nature, between beauty and tragedy. But as life continues to exist and the battle between opposites continues, there will always be an uncertainty that no one can explain or fully understand.