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By Robert Pack, Jay Parini

Greater than 3 dozen voices supply varied expressions of the dynamic interplay among way of life and the yankee cognizance, and plenty of solutions to the query of the way to "construct a 'self' from the fabrics of existence in our contentious and sometimes incoherent culture."

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Extra resources for American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices (Bread Loaf Anthology)

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She dipped down to straighten my knife and spoon. " My elbows! I was quoting T. S. Eliotand in a foreign language, yet! "Just guess, Mom. It has to be modern, right? I'll give you a hint," I nagged. "It's twentieth-century. " "I told you, dear," she said, a hint of impatience in her voice. " My father knew. He gave me a sly smile. "It's Eliot, Mom," I announced. " " 'I grow old, I grow old,' " my father said in a sonorous voice. ' " I was puzzled. " "It's from Prufrock. ' " In his late forties then, my father adored this poem of old age; it evoked a time in life that I think he looked forward to, a time when he could walk along the beach himself and not have to think about getting old because he would be old.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata,' " I chanted while she hurried back and forth with steaming plates of food. "Come on, Mom. " She dipped down to straighten my knife and spoon. " My elbows! I was quoting T. S. Eliotand in a foreign language, yet! "Just guess, Mom. It has to be modern, right? I'll give you a hint," I nagged. "It's twentieth-century. " "I told you, dear," she said, a hint of impatience in her voice. " My father knew. He gave me a sly smile. "It's Eliot, Mom," I announced. " " 'I grow old, I grow old,' " my father said in a sonorous voice.

My mother said. "And don't lean over your soup like that. " My grandmother glanced up from her plate with a sly look; embarrassing my mother was a good game. Remember, her bright shawls and antique jewelry proclaimed, your ancestors were peasants, bohemians, foreigners. " my mother said. " Page 9 "Mother, we know from 'pos'l cards' already. " But I was curious; I found this lore exotic, vivid. Besides, three of my grandparents were dead; my cousins were in Kew Gardens and Florida; my parents had sold their home in Evanston and moved to California the year before, during my last semester of college.

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