In God We Trust: Emigrazione e rigenerazione in Cristo fra i muratori di Pietro Di Donato


  • Giuseppe Lombardo



A new and multilevel reading of Pietro di Donato’s Christ in Concrete (1939), the long forgotten novel published ten years after the Great Depression but still fresh from the attentive and alert observing eye of the writer caught in one of the decisive moments of his development as a young promise of Italian American Literature. The article will be divided into two functional paragraphs which have different but converging aims. The first one (titled “Emigrazione e rigenerazione”) will try to reconstruct the biographical and ethnical elements involved in the tragic story of the death of Geremio, an Italian American bricklayer who is involved in the sudden collapse of the building yard were he works together with other Italian labourers. Geremio’s death has a direct impact on the economic conditions of his family, particularly Annunziata, his wife, and Paul his first born who has to abandon the school he is attending in order to take the place of the dead father as head of the family. Paul grows in ability and rapidly masters the fundamentals of the bricklayer’s art,  with the help of two adult characters, Nazone, his godfather, and Luigi, the brother of Annunziata and his maternal uncle. The second paragraph (titled “Lingua e ideologia”) will be devoted to the exploration of the continuity in the development of the fundamental values of ethnic identity and the evolution of the linguistic behaviour of the main characters analyzed from the he point of view of their being privileged carriers of a new linguistic/social role in their specific Italian/American search for a new identity.






Articles (general section) - American language, literature, and culture