Ask the Dust: Mapping Bandini

Group Members: Arielle Lightbourn, Cody Alvino, and Lizbeth Martinez

Our group’s map focused on events in John Fante’s Ask the Dust that highlighted the immigrant experience in Los Angeles in the 1930s. The immigrant struggle to fit into society and climb the ladder of success and opportunity promised by LA boosterism directly parallels Bandini’s story and his desire to be a successful writer and make an honest living. However, he fails to find success because of his ethnicity and class which prevents his social mobility. Our map details events that directly oppose notions of the Spanish fantasy past and the American dream and instead show the erasure of the immigrant existence, lack of opportunity, toxic masculinity as the result of emasculation, and unlived expectations. The novel and map convey that the lower class and poor had restricted social mobility and while the American dream promises opportunity for all, land, jobs, and a new life, many found upon arrival that you must fight for these chances. This is when violence against the lower-class, and non-whites occurred. Those who usurped their perceived roles in society were met with hatred and brutality and whites rose into the upper classes while minorities stayed at the bottom. Bandini is a character who himself is an immigrant but because of emasculation, overtly attempts to exert masculinity and looks down upon others that have success or do not fit the perceived roles given to them by society, one person being Camilla.

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