What is Life?

I'm three-quarters of the way through Philip Roth's "American Pastoral" and I came across an interesting passage...
"The final question assigned to the class was "What is life?" Merry's answer was something her father and mother chuckled over that night. According to Merry, while the other students labored busily away with their phony deep thoughts, she -- after an hour of thinking at her desk -- wrote a single, unplatitudinous declarative sentence: 'Life is just a short period of time during which you are alive.'"

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