Born on the Fourth of July

From: *The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), by John Steinbeck:

“ ‘How about your school work?’

‘It’s this summer. They announce the winners Fourth of July.’

‘Well, that might be all right. Do you really love America or do you love prizes?’

‘Now, Father,’ said Mary, ‘don’t go spoiling it for them.’

‘I just wanted to separate the cereal from the mouse mask. They get all mixed up.’

‘Pop, where would you say we could look it up?’

‘Look it up?’

‘Sure, like what some other guys said – ‘

‘Your great-grandfather had some pretty fine books. They’re in the attic.’

‘Like what?’

‘Oh, like Lincoln’s speeches and Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. You might take a look at Thoreau or Walt Whitman or Emerson – Mark Twain too. They’re all up there in the attic.’

‘Did you read them, Pop?’

‘He was my grandfather. He used to read them to me sometimes.’

‘Maybe you could help us with the essays.’

‘Then they wouldn’t be yours.’

‘Okay,’ said Allen…”

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