Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

Natalie  Caruso
Jerre Mangione: The Importance of Childhood Relationships and Environment Italian Americans in American Society
Jerre  Mangione
Link to Senior Art Thesis
Throughout the history of the United States, families of various ethnicities have emigrated from their homeland to America in search of new life. One group that immigrated to America in substantial numbers were the Italians. On their journey to a new and foreign land, Italians brought with them the customs and values of their old way of life. Specific customs included their tradition that each member of the family play a distinct role and that each member maintain closeness and loyalty with each other. With these qualities and customs, Italian Americans faced conflicts in American society, including political discrimination. Various institutions assisted them through the difficult and confusing change of moving to and living in a foreign country.

In the works Mount Allegro: A Memoir of Italian-American Life and Night Search, the author Jerre Mangione proves that family relationships and life experiences shape an individual’s personality. Gerlando Amoroso, the protagonist of Mount Allegro: A Memoir of Italian-American Life, is strikingly different from Michael Malory’s character in Night Search because of the varied family situations and relationships of each character. Gerlando’s mother, father and uncle all play a significant role in shaping his social character. As for Michael, however, his mother, father and wife play a negative role by leading him to be rather unsocial and immoral. In essense, parenting plays one of the most important roles in shaping an individual’s personality. The involvement or lack of involvement of a parent in a child’s raising predicts the child’s personality and character.

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