Diana Di Prima

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Najla Alameldin
Professor Wheat
English 106
03-21-2011
A Cultural Criticism on Diane DiPrima’s “The Practice of Magical Evocation” As a young girl growing up in an Italian American family, DiPrima began to witness expectations that she did not like about her culture. At eight years old she experienced her first expectation as a female in her family but this was not an expectation she felt positively on. In an interview given by David Hadbawnik, DiPrima says that one day her mother was very sick and couldn’t get out of bed; she called for DiPrima and said to her, “You let that man wash a dish.” DiPrima says, that at that moment she thought her mother was crazy and that the only thing on her mind was “What do you mean, I let him was a dish? You know, he’s the grown up.” Females growing up in Italian American households in the 1950s and 1960s were expected to learn the duties of their mothers. These duties included those activities that were confined to the home such as the typical cooking and cleaning. In an interview with David Hadbawnik, DiPrima says that women in Italian American families sat inferior to the men of their household while the men were considered to be a “luxury.” Daughters of Italian American families were also expected to never leave home before marriage; marriage to that of an Italian or Italian American man. There was to be no sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relations within marriage were to be kept secret. Raised in this Italian American household; Diane DiPrima did not rise to the standards set by her culture and flouted many of her family’s rules and beliefs. However she later helped redefine the expectations of an Italian American woman through her literature. When viewing Diane DiPrima’s “The Practice of Magical Evocation” through a cultural lens of women in 1950’s and 60’s Italian American households, it is evident that the text counteracts this culture by discussing her own sexuality and putting women on...
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