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Urban GreenNature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago$
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Colin Fisher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619958

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619958.001.0001

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Working-Class Ethnic Youth and Green Space

(p.64) Chapter Three Turf
Urban Green

Colin Fisher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyzes how the immigrant youth living in Chicago during the early twentieth century in America utilized the green spaces of the city for the purposes of leisure and recreation by exploring James T. Farrell’s Studs Lonigan trilogy of novels. It highlights Studs and his friends’ adventures at Washington Park that serves as a green escape from urban struggles. For Patrick, the father of Studs, the park also served as a “homeland” as it reminds immigrants of their native natural landscapes. Studs, in contrast, returns to the park to reminisce on his romantic encounter with Lucy Scanlon, his first love. Farrell’s trilogy portrays the world of Irish ethnic youth in detail. The places and historical events are all real, and many of the characters are based on real people Farrell knew intimately. The novels show how throughout Chicago, city-born ethnic youth sought out green space and made them their “turf.”

Keywords:   immigrants, Chicago ethnic youth, twentieth century, green space, James T. Farrell, Studs Lonigan, Washington Park, homeland, turf

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