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|Title:||The Clash between La Via Vecchia e la Via Nuova in Franco Paci's Novels|
|Abstract:||<p> I have • • • • his anxious desire to know everything, to think, to write everything, his anxious desire to be heard.¹ </p> <p>The most significant influx of Italian immigrants to Canada began at the end of the last century, and their number increased substantially just after the Second World War. Those immigrants were preoccupied with survival and had neither the time nor the education to document their immigrant experience. By the 1970's however, some of their children had a university education. This generation had the opportunity to cultivate their minds and the inclination to understand their parents' pasts. They have become the spokespersons of a generation of silent labourers. While many of them are now pursuing professional careers, they still remember that their fathers blasted rocks, worked in mines, hauled ties and did construction, while their mothers worked in factories. The sounds of this labour reverberate in their literature.</p> <p> Franco Paci took his place in this group of writers when he produced his novels, The Italians, the first full length book on Italian immigrant themes, Black Madonna and The Father. The author's main theme is the clash between la via vecchia (the old way) and la via nuova (the new way}.He sets up a series of tensions, including the ambivalence of the Italian-Canadian duality, the home as protection and prison, the generation schism and the language barrier as a means of illustrating his theme. He recalls the immigrant struggle and questions its price with compassion and iron-fair judgement. Using characters from the Italian immigrant milieu, he gives sound and structure to the mixed emotions and psychological dualities of the ethnic and the exiled. An Italian immigrant himself, Franco Paci draws from two cultures and examines the immigrant past in the context of the present. Novelist Robert Kraetsch explains the importance of writing about one's background: "In a sense, we haven't got an identity until somebody tells our story. The fiction makes us real."² Paci's works speak to the conflicts and resolutions repeated in countless Italian families across Canada.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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