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At four pages, eleven paragraphs (not incuding the introductory quote), thirty five sentences, and (sorry Georges) more words than I really wanted to count despite how cool it would have looked here, Ellis Island is a tome. It made me more intensely examine my own identity than all three hundred pages of What Color is Your Parachute even came close to doing. (Actually, I only read about four pages of that one too, but I could tell where it was going.) Ellis Island, however, was a complete surprise. The bit about what it means to be a Jew and the fact that that aspect of his identity is more concretely definied by its abscence than its presence, is profound. I mean, other people have said it, certainly, but this is, without a doubt, the clearest presentation I have encountered. I think it's particularly telling that he should set these musings in America, at Ellis Island. We, as Americans, particularly as white Americans, have a watered down and dissapated culture defined not by who we are, what we love, how we live etc., but what, ultimately, we are not. This small work was a four-page invitation to examine my relation to my roots, my country, and my culture. Ugh. I loved it.
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