Diana Di Prima Essay

1477 WordsNov 12, 20126 Pages
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…show more content…
She is frank, even blatant, about sex that in her own girlhood were kept private to the point of secrecy (Kirschenbaum 61). That she was a young, Italian American woman, in 1969, having sex at all and outside of marriage, and writing about it is what remains so remarkable even today (Quinn 178). In her poem, she chooses to put a quote by Gary Snyder before her own actual text. The quotes states, “The female is fertile, and discipline (contra naturam) only confuses her” (361). The choosing of this quote declines her parental and cultures’ standards and foreshadows the sexual expression in her poem. For DiPrima, sexual liberation is freedom from the old world of Italian American ethics, and into the new world of permission to do, say and be who she wants to be, and then to write about it (Quinn 179). Aside from flouting her family’s and culture’s conventions, DiPrima’s greatest transgression may be that she dares to write about herself in the first place. As Mary Jo Bona reminds us: “the fact that the Italian American woman…has chosen writing to express the self illustrates her ability to break away from traditional emphasis on family, one that implicitly enforces silence upon its members to insure that its family secrets are kept.” This code of silence, a common theme in Italian American literature, is explicitly feminized in DiPrima’s literature, DiPrima talks about herself as possessing an actual body, with body parts, and bodily

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