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Sabato Rodia's Towers in WattsArt, Migrations, Development$
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Luisa Del Giudice

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257966

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257966.001.0001

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The Literary and Immigrant Contexts of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers

The Literary and Immigrant Contexts of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers

(p.145) The Literary and Immigrant Contexts of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers
Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts

Kenneth Scambray

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses how the Watts Towers is as much about Italian immigrants in California as it is about its creator, Italian immigrant Simon Rodia. Italian American immigrant novels and autobiographies of the era reveal that one common measure of success in the New World was how much wealth the immigrant could amass in the shortest amount of time. However, Rodia's life and Towers must be located on that other side of the success story, transcending the mere pursuit of riches in the New World. Ultimately, what is important about the Towers is that Rodia's site, like the over 100-year history of Italian American literature, expresses not only Italian immigrants' aspirations but conflicted recollections of their past in the Old World.

Keywords:   Sabatino Rodia, Simon Rodia, Watts Towers, Italian immigrants, Italian Americans, California, New World

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