I am writing a paper on Christ In Concrete and The Fortune Pilgrim. Here is the assignment:
“In the texts that we have read, we have seen very different relationships between a character’s Old World and New World selves. Looking at two or three of the texts we have read, discuss the relationship between the self in the country of origin and the Americanized self. Is it possible for the two selves to coexist? Is continuity between the former and present self possible? What kinds of theory of identiy are proposed in these tets and what larger conclusions can you draw from this about the project of becoming (or not becoming) American?”
I chose these two texts because there is the lack of assimilation in both. The characters in these books are trying to become Americans, necessarily, but they are trying to adapt to American life, and trying to eke out an existence in extreme poverty – which they were trying to do back in Italy. The Fortunate Pilgrim, especially, speaks to the opportunities in America – and how the new dreams available to immigrants in America can both benefit and destroy an immigrant’s soul.
So I’m not following the assignment EXACTLY, especially since the two best examples of what the assignment is asking are Yekl (from Yekl & The Imported Bridegroom), and Mary Antin’s first person narraive in The Promised Land. She goes so far as to say that her Old World self died when her New World self was born.
The thing is, I really really loved The Fortunate Pilgrim and want to write about. I could compare Mary Antin to Lucia Santa, but their points of view are so different that I would be comparing and contrasting rather than drawing a definitive conclusion. There is a definite common thread between the idea of America in Christ In Concrete and the idea of America in The Fortunate Pilgrim.
Dwight is going this week to play music with a guy from work and his band. I’m excited for him, as he really does need that creative outlet, and he is so talented that it’s a shame to keep all that bottled up. He’s going to play keyboard, which is great, but it would really groovy if he practiced on the keyboard downstairs, rather than the piano in the den. It’s out of tune, it sounds like it’s about to come through the wall where I’m sitting and trying to work, and it’s distracting. I don’t want to say anything, though, because I don’t want to discourage him. I guess I’ll deal.