By Robert Pack, Jay Parini
Greater than 3 dozen voices provide different expressions of the dynamic interplay among tradition and the yankee recognition, and lots of solutions to the query of the way to "construct a 'self' from the fabrics of existence in our contentious and infrequently incoherent culture."
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Additional resources for American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices (Bread Loaf Anthology)
In the back seat, I was eager to hear more. I hadn't noticed any unhappiness in Grisha's eyes. How did my mother know this? What was her evidence? " She turned and draped her elbow over the back seat; here was an audience. Then a story would unfold: Sylvia's son Joey was threatening to drop out of high school and join the Marines; Gladys had finally been forced to put her mother in a nursing home; Sarah's husband, Harry, a professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin, had quarreled with the chairman of his department.
To exist as a family," she writes, "we had to continually construct who were who. We learned how not to be ourselves. Around strangers, words were spoken carefully or not at all. Silence became a strategy for survival. But we had to comprehend its subtle complexity, recognize its disguises. " Most of these essays, poems, and stories turn on a moment of recognition, a point where one's past or present suddenly coheres, and the notion of "identity" becomes relevant to the continuous process of self-definition.
There were always books in Rya's home. They were people of culture. Herman"my grandfather, long since dead"was a man of profound learning. When he was a young engineering student in Moscow, he graduated first in his class, and he could read five languages. And Rya"Leon paused, allowing emotion to collect"Rya loved opera, literature, art. " He sipped from a glass of water. "It was Rya who wanted Donald to become a doctor. " In the front row, my father wept; my mother, dry-eyed, held his hand. "She was like a mother to me," Leon was saying.
American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices (Bread Loaf Anthology) by Robert Pack, Jay Parini