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My project studies three texts closely: Christ in Concrete, Reunion in Sicily, and Ask the Dust. All writers choose to write autobiographically. In Italy, and in my continued Italian studies in the United States, I was able to realize why Italian-Americans derive so much comfort from locating items of Italian culture in America. Just as studying Italian has made Bard home again, elements of Italian culture have comforted the lost American in literature, and that practice of negotiating is Italian-American.The texts follow exiled sons of Italy in their attempt to assimilate into American culture. The preservation of language, the memoir genre, and the assimilationist narrative form are formal techniques that give the text their senses of Italianita. Together, the texts demonstrate that to be Italian-American is to be fully alienated from both Italy and the United States yet undoubtedly tethered to both. The economic structure of America threatens traditional Italian practices, leading Italian-Americans into new understandings of Italianita. The characters in the texts all assimilate to varying degrees. I argue for a dialectic relationship between remembering and forgetting as it relates to Italians' assimilation into America.
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Braunstein, Gabriel F., "Discourses of Italianita in Italian-American Literature" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 27.
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