Mount Allegro Notes Chapter 3: • Most relatives lived in one neighborhood o Not more than 5/6 blocks from each other o About as far apart as they could live without feeling that America was a desolate and lonely place • Nicknamed neighborhood “Mount Allegro” after famous place in Sicily, Italy o No commercial establishments in town o Laundry place less than a half-block away, two blocks away was an optical company o Near the Genesee River—smelled its dirty water and the smoke of the factory o Several tailor factories • Were as poor as the others but were better at managing than others o Mother grew tomatoes in backyard • Despite rarely going to church, they put down their American neighbor for his garden and how he went to church every Sunday o Thought that the more guilt a man had on his conscience, the more often he was obliged to attend church Chapter 4: • Father could be more severe than mother but she was truly the head of the house —laid down many rules o Had to eat everything she cooked for them—fed usually dandelion or escarole for health (verdura) More they complained about food, the more she would give them o Also had to speak no other language at home but that of their parents Had to speak English outside of home and took pride in the fact that they could speak it so well Insistence on only speaking Italian drew sharp line between existence at home and in the outside world (acquired the notion that they were Italian at home and American elsewhere) • Sensed the necessity of adapting themselves to 2 different worlds—several marked differences between those worlds, differences that made Americans and his relatives each think of the other as foreigners o Difference that pained him the most was language because he was aware of it most often Was embarrassed when playing with kids and mother called in Italian; buying clothes and having her barter with broken English Mother considered it a sin for relatives to permit their children to speak a language which the entire family could not speak fluently (was like renouncing her own flesh and blood) o One retort to argument—language they spoke at home was not Italian but rather a Sicilian dialect that only Sicilians could understand
However, they were not speaking the same dialect they brought with them from Sicily—after years of hearing American, Yiddish, Polish, and Italian dialects other than their own, their language gathered words that people in Sicily would not have understood Several Italian-American words: minuto for minute, ponte for
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 17 pages?
- Spring '14