Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday July 29, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM
A Fulfilled Recognition

This morning’s previous entry featured contemptibly mediocre Jewish fiction.  In contrast, here is a passage from first-rate Jewish fiction– the little boy and little girl of E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime:

“Their desire for each other’s company was unflagging.  This was noted with amusement by the adults.  They were inseparable until bedtime but uncomplaining when it was announced.  They ran off to their separate rooms with not a glance backward.  Their sleep was absolute.  They sought each other in the morning.  He did not think of her as beautiful.  She did not think of him as comely.  They were extremely sensitive to each other, silhouetted in a diffuse excitement, like electricity or a nimbus of light, but their touching was casual and matter-of-fact.  What bound them to each other was a fulfilled recognition which they lived and thought within so that their apprehension of each other could not be so distinct and separated as to include admiration for the other’s fairness.  Yet they were beautiful, he in his stately blond thoughtfulness, she a smaller, darker, more lithe being, with flash in her dark eyes and an almost military bearing.  When they ran their hair lay back from their broad foreheads.  Her feet were small, her brown hands were small.  She left imprints in the sand of a street runner, a climber of dark stairs; her track was a flight from the terrors of alleys and the terrible crash of ashcans.  She had relieved herself in wooden outhouses behind the tenements.  The tails of rodents had curled about her ankles.  She knew how to sew with a machine and had observed dogs mating, whores taking on customers in hallways, drunks peeing through the wooden spokes of pushcart wheels.  He had never gone without a meal.  He had never been cold at night.  He ran with his mind.  He ran toward something.  He was unencumbered by fear and did not know there were beings in the world less curious about it than he.  He saw through things and noted the colors people produced and was never surprised by a coincidence.  A blue and green planet rolled through his eyes.”

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