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John Fante's Ask the DustA Joining of Voices and Views$
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Stephen Cooper and Clorinda Donato

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287864

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287864.001.0001

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“Sad Flower in the Sand”: Camilla Lopez and the Erasure of Memory in Ask the Dust

“Sad Flower in the Sand”: Camilla Lopez and the Erasure of Memory in Ask the Dust

Chapter:
(p.58) “Sad Flower in the Sand”: Camilla Lopez and the Erasure of Memory in Ask the Dust
Source:
John Fante's Ask the Dust
Author(s):

Meagan Meylor

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823287864.003.0004

While scholars of Ask the Dust have given considerable attention to the novel’s protagonist Arturo Bandini, his Mexican American love interest Camilla Lopez has been relatively neglected. Scholarship concerning Camilla has been limited to her destructive relationship with Arturo and her attempts at adopting Hollywood values. By foregrounding the figure of Camilla through the socio-historical lens of the marginalization and deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans during the 1930s, this chapter offers important insights into Fante’s novel, most notably in its treatment of ethnic identities within Los Angeles. It also provides a feminist reading of Ask the Dust by examining Fante’s treatment of working-class female subjectivity and of how Camilla’s recurring presence and absence draw attention to the Mexican past of Los Angeles, a history often erased in the city’s collective memory.

Keywords:   Ask the Dust, Camilla Lopez, collective memory, erasure, John Fante, feminism, Great Depression, Mexican repatriation, subjectivity

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