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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Deep and Interesting

I got this story from a friend's xanga. Thought it was deep and QUITE interesting...read on homies!! lemme know how u feel afterwards! haha ;-)

Quote From "Days of Obligation" by Richard Rodriquez

The best metaphor of America remains the dreadful metaphor--the Melting Pot. Fall into the Melting Pot--it makes no difference--you will find yoursef a stranger to your parents, a stranger to your own memory of yourself.

A Chinese girl walks to the front of the classroom, unfolds several ruled pages, and begins to read her essay to a trio of judges (I am one of her judges).

The voice of the essay is the voice of an immigrant. Stammer and elision approximate naivete (the judges squirm in their chairs). The narrator remembers her night-long journey to the United States aboard a Pan Am jet. The moon. Stars. Then a memory within a memory: in the darkened cabin of the plane, sitting next to her sleepig father, the little girl remembers bright China.

Many years pass.

The narrator's voice hardens into an American voice; her diction takes on rock and chrome. There is an ashtray on the table. The narrator is sitting at a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco. She is sixteen years old. She is with friends. The narrator notices a Chinese girl passing on the sidewalk. The narrator remembers bright China. The passing girl's face turns toward hers. The narrator recognizes herself in the passing girl--herself less assimilated. Their connective glance lasts only seconds. The narrator is embarrassed by her double--she remembers the cabin of the plane, her sleeping father, the moon, stars. The stranger disappears.

End of essay.

The room is silent as the Chinese student raises her eyes from the text.

One judge breaks the silence. Do you think your story is a sad story?

No, she replies. It is a true story.

What is the difference?

(Slowly, then.)

When you hear a sad story you cry, she says. When you hear a true story you cry even more.


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