In Crossing Ocean Parkway
(1994), scholar and literary critic Marianna De Marco Torgovnick—now Professor of English at Duke University—traces her story as an Italian-American girl growing up in a working-class Italian neighborhood of New York City that could not satisfy her desire for learning and for upward mobility. De Marco’s personal experiences of cultural border crossings finds here specific spatial reference especially through Ocean Parkway, “a wide, tree-lined street in Brooklyn, a symbol of upward mobility, and a powerful state of mind” (p. vii). Border crossing or trespassing inform this text. De Marco moved from an Italian immigrant milieu to a sophisticated Jewish community, via her marriage, and from a minority group to a successful career in academia. There are also crossings between being a professional, a wife, a mother, and a daughter; between being an insider and an outsider; between longing to be free and the desire to belong; between safety and danger, joy and mourning, nostalgia and contempt. In representing her younger self as “outsider” to her received community, she provides a sharp analysis of the tensions within American society.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited