Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 4

Plater 1

Burke Plater Kat Kelley English AP Language 2/3/13 Rhetoric of Culture Project: Italian American Italians came to America during the late 19th and early 20th century in numbers greater than any other country. With the influx of Italians to America, their culture and customs accompanied them. New identities were created by the new mixture of cultures, and people started expressing the beliefs of their own culture in its new setting. The history of the Italian Americans helps to explain why there is a vast majority of expression through different arts in an American setting created by Italian Americans. Understanding Italian Americans history is vital to understanding the rhetoric of their culture. Southern Italy, Mezzogiorno, was the source of more than 75% of immigration to the United States during this time period. The majority of this population was artisans, sharecroppers and farm laborers. Changes in the Italian constitution heavily favored the Northern section of the country, and completely mistreated the South. To add to that, Southern Italy was becoming more and more crowded because the population was growing rapidly. The combination of difficult living conditions, unfair treatment, and low success rates in Southern Italy caused a massive immigration to America. These migrants, mostly farmers, brought along with them a strong sense of their own culture. Shortly after Italians arrived in the United States, Little Italys were established throughout many cities in the northeast. In these Little Italys was where the Italian American culture was developed through activities like parades, creating

Plater 2

an Italian newspaper, and even celebrating Italian holidays. These customs were developed because of the hardships they faced with each other, and it ended up creating an even tighter knit community. Italian Americans ran into trouble with the theory of nativism, where Americans felt like it wasnt fair for immigrants to come into the country and sweep away their jobs. That is why Irish and Italian immigrants became enemies because they were competing for the same low paying jobs. Italians also became victims of violence; 11 Italian Americans were hanged in New Orleans because of their ethnic background (Pozetta). The manner in which Americans treated Italian immigrants created a massive wall in between the two cultures that would not be broken for some time. The commonalities between the themes Italian Americans create in their different forms of art are because of the similar experiences each one of the authors of the works went through. Their lives in Italy, their travels, and their experiences in America all create a similar rhetoric. Joseph Stella was one of the more prominent Italian American artists at the turn of the century; he was able to analyze the composition of Lower Manhattan, and put it on canvas. He studied the effects of industrialism through his works and also connected many of his pieces to religion. This is all a part of the Italian American cultures rhetoric because many Italian immigrants became a part of the industrial life, and they went through struggles with it. That is why many of his pictures representing industry are dark, gloomy and clustered scenes (Peltakian). The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was another product of Italian Americans. This band helped to thrust jazz into popularity during this time period. Its upbeat and sensational songs created a massive influx of fan support for jazz (Yanow). This helped Americans to realize that Italian Americans were able to really contribute to their society. This band created their

Plater 3

music in such a way to represent an individualistic approach to music, while still conforming to some of the norms of jazz. This was the way many Italian Americans lived their lives. The purpose of the jazz singers was to represent the Italian American people in a positive way through their music. Lastly was the creation of the Italian tribune by Vincenzo Guiliano; it was initially created to create support for the celebration of the life of Christopher Columbus. Eventually, the paper combined with a Catholic newsletter and became a voice to improve the working rights of Italian Americans (Giuliano). Once again the themes of industrialism as well as religion appear. Both were expressed through the newspaper which was written in Italian, so it was targeted completely at Italian Americans. The newspaper is able to connect with the reader using pathos in order to show sympathy to the reader. All of the different forms of art used during this time period were meant to influence some group to change, and as time passes, the Italian American culture evolves, and becomes a much stronger, as well as global community. The combination of the similar historical experiences that the different authors went through helped to define the way in which each one of them conveyed their message. All had similarities in that they were trying to represent the Italian American culture to the best of their ability. Doing this creates a better understanding between different cultures, as well as less conflict. Many of the messages authors conveyed a century ago are still in effect today, which shows how much effect a groups rhetoric can have on an audience.

Plater 4

Works Cited/Notes Pozetta, George. Italian Americans. Countries and Their Cultures. Advameg, Inc. Accessed 3/05/13 <http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Italian-Americans.html>. Peltakian, Danielle. American Futurist & Symbolist. Sullivan Goss. Accessed 3/05/13 <http://www.sullivangoss.com/Joseph_Stella/>. Yanow, Scott. Original Dixieland Jazz Band. allmusic. Rovi Corp. Accessed 3/05/13 <http://www.allmusic.com/artist/original-dixieland-jazz-band-mn0000401971>. Giuliano, Vincenzo. Vincent and Maria Giuliano. The Italian Tribune. May 1, 2009. Accessed 3/05/13 <http://www.italian-tribune.com/IT_05_01_09_29.pdf>.