The novel Christ in Concrete, written by Pietro di Donato in 1939, tells the story of construction workers. The book shocks the audience with its straightforwardness and leaves a deep imprint. The first chapter of the novel is called Geremio and describes the death of this character and his coworkers due to the building collapse. The present essay describes themes that were highlighted by di Donato in this part of his writing.
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In the novel, Pietro di Donato speaks ironically of the American Dream, capitalism and the struggle for wealth. Geronimo and his colleagues were Italians living in the US. Shortly before the death, the main character bought a new house and waited for the baby to be born (di Donato 11). Although he had some fears about the safety of his workplace, he was generally happy to have what he had and be where he was (di Donato 9, 13). In other words, he had achieved the American Dream, and it seems that nothing could go wrong. Still, it did and took his life away. Ironically, Geronimo was working hard to achieve everything that he had by the moment of his death. However, the only thing that matters is not the property and money but whether one had a chance to survive.
Other significant topic in Geronimo is the willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of the beloved ones. The story reflects the times of the Great Depression; it was hard to get employed, and the wife of the main character was pregnant. Thus, it was essential for Geronimo to find a source of income at any cost. Even though he had a feeling that something might happen at the construction site, he had no other choice but to go there because he had to feed his family (di Donato 9, 11). Therefore, even though he wanted to help people he loved and make their life easier and more comfortable, his actions accidentally made the life of his loved ones worse.
To conclude, in Geronimo, Pietro di Donato not only presents the lives of Italian builders working in the US but also raises several fundamental questions. This chapter makes the readers think of the real value of money and property and the overall irony of life and destiny. Even though the first chapter is sad, it still intrigues the audience and awakens the desire to read the entire book in one sitting.
di Donato, Pietro. Christ in Concrete. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1939.