“All three children carried themselves rather better than the common run of “green” pupils that were brought to Miss Nixon. But the figure that challenged attention to the group was the tall, straight father, with his earnest face and fine forehead, nervous hands eloquent in gesture, and a voice full of feeling. This foreigner, who brought his children to school as if it were an act of consecration, who regarded the teacher of the primer class with reverence, who spoke of visions, like a man inspired, in a common schoolroom, was not like other aliens, who brought their children in dull obedience to the law; was not like the native fathers, who brought their unmanageable boys, glad to be relieved of their care. I think Miss Nixon guessed what my father’s best English could not convey. I think she divined that by the simple act of delivering our school certificates to her he took possession of America.” – Mary Antin, “The Promised Land”
I love the ending paragraph to this section. It is, discounting all other things, gratifying to read. In chapter nine we learn all of Antin’s father and his opulence in his home country, the fall of being forced to go to America and the struggle once he got to the promised land. We, side by side with her father, crave for the education of his children so when this finally happens, we too take possession of America.
What other things can we pull this story too? Any story, ever? Yeah. It kind of feels like an after school movie. Act one: Everything is awesome; Act Two: things go into the crapper: Act Three: Things get resolved by grasping onto some deeper meaning within their lives.