This piece takes on the theme of idealism; the two others in the paper’s series (of which we are aware) took on themes of optimism and fear. These latter pieces address their themes head-on, as in “Now I’m going write about fear in America.” But French comes in at an angle, in more narrative fashion. As he often does, he writes in the first person, and he writes a personal story about attending rehearsals of his son’s high school play, “Our Town.” His theme of idealism gets revealed in more sophisticated ways as he profiles these citizens entering adulthood, performing a play about American life and thinking about politics and their post-9/11 world. The piece is as much about skepticism—in contrast to the relative innocence projected in the play—as it is about idealism.
Read “Their Eyes are Wide Open,” by Thomas French