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Italian Roots, American Ways: Cultural Issues in Twentieth-Century Italian American Communities


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Cerjan, Sara. (2017). Italian Roots, American Ways: Cultural Issues in Twentieth-Century Italian American Communities. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Šesnić, Jelena].

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In this essay the cultural issues of Italian American communities in the 20th century USA have been examined on the examples from three novels: Christ in Concrete by Pietro Di Donato, The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Household Saints by Francine Prose. The cultural issues elaborated here were dealing with problems of assimilation, acculturation and other social and economic questions. The mentioned issues were studied on Italian – American literary works, but sometimes there were also comparisons to Croatian-American and Lithuanian-American literature, based on the novels Anna Marinkovich by Edward Ifkovic and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. First, the essay offers a definition of an immigrant novel based on the examples from William Boelhower’s The Brave New World of Immigrant Autobiography and The Immigrant Novel as a Genre. Special emphasis was put on the opposition between the Old World and the New World, i.e. the opposition between tradition and modern world. In regards to the Old World, the essay discusses how Italian immigrants made peace with the new and modern, combining the elements of both worlds into a unique Italian American community. Given that the essay deals with the period of the twentieth century, it was important to mention the position of women and their progressive role from the Thirties to the Eighties. The feminine role developed from being solely housewives to becoming confident, independent and working women. Some historic events like world wars have changed the viewpoint and have made women become emancipated by getting jobs and expanding their role from a completely maternal one to a role of woman being capable of not only working but also taking care of the household.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: immigration, assimilation, acculturation, immigrant novel, expectation, reality, tradition, modern, religion, socialism, capitalism, mafia, loyalty, cruelty, female emancipation, generation gap
Subjects: English language and literature > American Studies
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Šesnić, Jelena
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 08:58
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 08:58

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