Faced with this diversity there is little point in trying to isolate anything remotely resembling a national character, but there are two strains of behavior that, however tenuously, abet the concept of unity.
I was the product of a mixed marriage, across barely bridgeable lines: an Italian girl, an Irish boy. Put a book or short story in front of them, they'll look at it for a few seconds and start day dreaming It will take about minutes for the students to complete the 22 question worksheet depending on the student.
These are the representatives of a mongrel nation that somehow, at times like this, has one spirit. That's because it was built of bits and pieces that seem discordant, like the crazy quilts that have been one of its great folk-art forms, velvet and calico and checks and brocades.
There is that Calvinist undercurrent in the American psyche that loves the difficult, the demanding, that sees mastering the impossible, whether it be prairie or subway, as a test of character, and so glories in the struggle of this fractured coalescing.
Total Pages. When photographs of the faces of all those who died in the World Trade Center destruction are assembled in one place, it will be possible to trace in the skin color, the shape of the eyes and the noses, the texture of the hair, a map of the world.
They live in the store.
This is a nation founded on a conundrum, what Mario Cuomo has characterized as "community added to individualism. Once these disparate parts were held together by a common enemy, by the fault lines of world wars and the electrified fence of communism.
What is the point of a nation in which Arab cabbies chauffeur Jewish passengers through the streets of New York--and in which Jewish cabbies chauffeur Arab passengers, too, and yet speak in theory of hatred, one for the other?