Which themes (both obvious and otherwise) are the strongest in Christ in Concrete (in the sense of strong examples)?I'm making a study guide for an exam so if it were possible for you to give me a...

Which themes (both obvious and otherwise) are the strongest in Christ in Concrete (in the sense of strong examples)?

I'm making a study guide for an exam so if it were possible for you to give me a couple of example quotes for the theme so I could refer to them that would be great. Thank you.

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lprono eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As in other immigrants' novels written in the first half of the twentieth century, Christ in Concrete focuses on the conflict between the immigrant's original culture and the environment and values that he finds in America. In the case of Di Donato's novel, this conflict is represented through the immigrants' increasing realization that his Catholic beliefs cannot help him to improve his own condition. Significantly, after Geremio asks for the Lord's help in guiding him through his work as a builder, the construction on which he is working collapses and he dies in spite of his prayer that Jesus comes to his rescue. His son Paul grows progressively more alert to the fact that while Catholic faith may be an obvious part of a working-class Italian-American immigrant it does not contribute to improve his life. In contrast, Catholic religion is shown as complicit with the capitalist system that exploits workers. Its teachings lead to a passive acceptance of one's fate and thus to fatalism. It is also easy to graft onto Catholicism superstition and sorcery, as Di Donato makes clear in the episode of the Cripple (a woman who claims to be able to communicate with the world of the dead). Paul's final smashing of the crucifix given to him by his mother symbolizes his final rejection of religion and his surrender to materialism both in economic and moral/spiritual terms.