Silvia Barocci

Stirring the tomato soup with the wooden spoon: portraits of a mom in Tina De Rosa Paperfish.

What did an Italian American woman of the 50’s look like? How did she used to talk, what were her ideas, values and beliefs? And, moreover, how could it be to grow up Italian in an American ghetto, with an Italian grandma living next door, full of her Italian traits in voice, words, mood and gestures not to mention her strong Italian way of approaching life? Far from the worldwide known stereotypes of the Italian Americans as in The Godfather, Tina De Rosa’s Paperfish is a magnificent novel on family relationships where women educate women literally “bringing out” ancient (i. e. hidden) stories and memories.  This paper aims therefore to consider three generation of Italian moms living in the Little Italy of Chicago in the 40’s and the 50’s, trying to consider the portraits of Italian moms as depicted in fiction written by Italian female authors.