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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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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

“A Ramona in Reverse”: Writing the Madness of the Spanish Past in Ask the Dust

“A Ramona in Reverse”: Writing the Madness of the Spanish Past in Ask the Dust

Chapter:
(p.83) “A Ramona in Reverse”: Writing the Madness of the Spanish Past in Ask the Dust
Source:
John Fante's Ask the Dust
Author(s):

Daniel Gardner

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823287864.003.0005

At the turn of the twentieth century, real estate boosters seeking to promote southern California drew upon the national popularity of Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel Ramona, in particular its fantasy of the Spanish past. The fantasy’s colonial discourse deployed stereotypes marked by an ambivalence that romanticized “going Spanish” even as it portrayed Mexican communities as burdens necessitating subjugation through various strategies including repatriation. John Fante’s Ask the Dust (1939) repudiates the stereotype of the colonial fantasy by critically mimicking the Spanish past. By reversing the discourse of Ramona, Ask the Dust exposes the imperialist nostalgia of the fantasy, recognizes the instability of the regional sense of colonial authority, protests the racial injustice of the discourse, and recuperates the voice of the Other that the fantasy seeks to silence.

Keywords:   Ask the Dust, colonial discourse, imperialist nostalgia, Ramona, repatriation, Spanish past, stereotype

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