things i have read and long remembered:
1. melville's account of the handsome sailor, billy budd, whose pristine perfection was flawed by one "blemish"-a pathological stutter that manifested itself most seriously in situations of stress when, for example, he was falsely accused by the first mate of fomenting mutiny aboard ship. unable to defend himself againt this vile charge because his vocal chords had closed and despite the incredulity of the captain who "loved" Budd as did practically the entire crew, Budd's arm shot out and landed squarely on the forehead of the false accuser, sending him to the floor, killed in a instant by the one blow.
2. the hertz chumash's translation of the mitzvah: 'rise up before the hoary head'
3. the hertz chumash's footnote of the medrash of moshe's hand being forced by the angel to pick up the burning coal, rather than the jewel, and put it to his lips, thereby explaing how it had come to be that Moshe was "slow of tongue".
4. johnny tremaine and his silversmithing mishap that damaged his hand. so embarassed and ashamed of his permanently injured hand, johnny would hide his disability by putting it in his pants pocket and keeping it there as much as possible.
5. william saroyan's acct. of the human comedy: messenger delivers notice to parents of son's death
6. a parent's prayer, which made such a positive impression on me, that i copied it, word for word, into the inside cover of my favorite american history book by charles beard, the rise of american civilization. It is a marvelous example of the economy of poetry which, when done at its best, is encyclopedic in its wisdom but sparse in its use of words.
7. president lincoln's view that the slave girl just be left alone.
8. president lincoln's view of frederick douglass that he was the most meritorious individual he had ever known