From the critics
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Many thoughtful quotes. Here are some from the conversation between Marcus and Dean:
I see by your transcript that you're a remarkably gifted student. First in your family ever to attend college. ... Scholarship from your temple. I wouldn't want anything at Winesburg to interfere in the slightest with such a stellar record of achievement.
-Neither do I, sir.
It says here your father is a kosher butcher.
-No. No, it does not. I remember just writing down just 'butcher.' That's what I'd write down on any form.
Well, that's what you did write. I'm merely assuming that he's a kosher butcher.
-He is. But that is not what I wrote down.
I acknowledged that. But it's not inaccurate, is it? To identify him more precisely as a kosher butcher?
-But neither is what I wrote down inaccurate, sir.
I'd be curious to know why you didn't write down 'kosher, ' Marcus.
-Sir, if you are asking me if I was trying to hide the religion into which I was born, the answer is no.
You display a fondness for dramatic exaggeration. It doesn't serve you well. It is a characteristic you might want to reflect upon.
Well, if I may say so, it doesn't look to me like you get along just fine. It seems to me as soon as there's a difference of opinion, you pick up and leave. Is there a problem with finding a solution in quietly leaving?
I don't prefer to practice one religion over another.
-What then provides you with spiritual sustenance? To whom do you pray when you need solace?
I don't need solace, sir. I don't believe in God and I don't believe in prayer. I am sustained by what is real. Praying, to me, is preposterous.
-Is it now? And yet so many millions do it.
Millions once thought the earth was flat, sir.
-Yes, that's true. But may I ask you, Marcus, merely out of curiosity, how do you get by in life... filled as life is inevitably with trials and tribulations lacking spiritual guidance?
I get straight A's, sir.
Sir! I object to being interrogated like this! I do not see the purpose of it. These are my own private affairs,
as is my religious life and my social life and how I conduct it. I have broken no laws, I've caused no one injury or harm, and in no way have my actions impinged on anyone's rights. If anyone's rights have been impinged on they are mine.
-Sit down please, and explain yourself.
I also object to having to attend chapel forty times before I graduate in order to earn a degree. I do not see where the college has the right to force me to listen to a clergyman of whatever faith, even once, or listen to a Christian hymn invoking the Christian deity, given that I am an atheist who is, to be truthful, deeply offended by the practices of organized religion. I am altogether capable of leading a moral existence without crediting beliefs
that are impossible to substantiate and beyond credulity.
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