Donato's Christ In Concrete Analysis

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Both Jerre Mangione’s Mount Allegro and Pietro di Donato’s Christ in Concrete discusses formulations of immigrant narratives through the use of descent and consent relations to describe how immigrants inherit their cultural heritage and how they subsequently identify with their cultural heritage through their choices respectively. For Italian American immigrants, particularly second-generation Italian immigrants, although family traditions, values, and ideologies are passed down through generations, either through oral stories told by family members or through the teachings from the mother, whom often play the role of preserving the family’s cultural traditions, the internalization of their cultural upbringing, is dependent on their choices.…show more content…
For second-generation Italian American immigrants, like Paul and Gerlando, bella figura, or the idea of knowing how to properly interact with others in social situations, is often taught through folklores with moral lessons. The lessons taught from stories, like those of Annichia and the importance of shrewdness and Gisueppe Scalla and the concept of “true justice” (Mangione 194), act as a basic framework for younger generations of immigrant to model their behaviors on throughout their adolescence and adulthood. Others, like those about Maureen Daniels, the strafalaria, or Cicca and her tyrant father, Don Antonio, warned younger generations of the consequences of going against family values and of over-assimilating into American culture. In Christ in Concrete, however, di Donato portrays how the influences of descent relations on behavior through the idea of familial responsibility, or the theme of continuity between father and son. When looking for a job, Paul not only inherits his father’s career as a craftsman, or as commented by Nazone, “a born artist of brick and mortar” (di Donato 69), but also consents to becoming both a bricklayer and the father of the family. di Donato repeats this theme of Paul’s consent throughout Christ in Concrete, beginning with…show more content…
Throughout Mount Allegro, Mangione repeatedly mentions how his mother reinforced the notion of being able to communicate in a language shared by everyone in the household: “I don’t want to hear anything but Italian in this house . . . I don’t want my children to grow up into babbi who can’t speak the language of their parents” (Mangione 20-21) and “[another] unpopular rule she vigorously reinforced was that we speak no other language at home but that of our parents” (Mangione 49-50). While Mangione stresses the importance of second-generation immigrants being able to speak the language of their parents, a skill learned through descent, whether second-generation immigrants learn and integrate Italian into their daily lives is dependent on their own decisions, as seen through how Luigi’s children “knew so little Sicilian that he was seldom able to converse with them” (Mangione 21). Like bella figura, the enactment of omereta, the oath of silence, and other attitudes towards proper speech are often taught through oral stories told by parents or older relatives. The idea of omereta, passed down due to the older generation’s “lack of faith in the law” (Mangione 185), is the mutual
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