American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices by Robert Pack, Jay Parini

By Robert Pack, Jay Parini

Greater than 3 dozen voices provide diversified expressions of the dynamic interplay among way of life and the yankee cognizance, and lots of solutions to the query of the way to "construct a 'self' from the fabrics of lifestyles in our contentious and infrequently incoherent culture."

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Ca-ta-chre-sis.  . ' " He slammed the volume shut. "So there is a subtle difference," he said. " We trotted back to the kitchen, where my mother, in a furious mood, had started to clear the dishes. " she said tearfully, Page 18 bending over the sink and scraping dishes into the disposal. " And she hurried out of the room, her shoes clacking on the parquet floor. "Mom's not an intellectual like us," I volunteered. My father blew on his instant coffee, wrinkling the surface. "Being an intellectual isn't everything," he said.

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. I felt like an anthropologist among the Nambikwara; if I didn't study these people now, it would be too late. " Cradling my chin in her spotted hand, my grandmother would scrutinize my face with the ecstatic zeal of an archaeologist happening on a findonly the artifact was new, its discoverer old.

He sat me at their table to show off my English, and when he danced with me, fondling my shoulder blades beneath my bridesmaid's gown as if they were breasts, he found me skinny but pretty at seventeen, and clever.  A maiden aunt housekept, touching up whipped cream roses with a syringe of eggwhites, rescuing the groom when the heat melted his chocolate shoes into the frosting.  He twirled me often, excited by my pleas of dizziness, teasing me that my merengue had lost its Caribbean. Above us, Chinese lanterns strung between posts came on and one snapped off and rose into a purple postcard sky.

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