For Tuesday 10/7: Read pages 55-107 in Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams and watch the first 30 minutes (chapters 1-4) of The Salsa Revolution, which is streaming online on PBS. We’ll talk a little about the role of music as an urban cultural form and how Quiñonez uses it to help shape the narrative of the book. Also think about what the PBS documentary says about how Salsa music is a unique product of New York City.
A few things to pay attention to in the book are 1) the role of culture and what it means, 2) Quiñonez’s relationship as a writer to Pietri and Piñero (there are numerous references to both and their poetry throughout the book), 3) the “American Dream” and what it means to the characters in the book, 4) how different generations of immigrants/migrants relate to the city and city life, 5) race and gender relations. This isn’t a complete list, but these are a few key things that jump out at me. Begin to look for connections/ similarities / differences in things we’ve read (and other things you’ve read/ watched /studied in other classes, etc).
We’ll also have our first student presentation from Aubreyne, Chloe, Javier, and Joe.
For Thursday 10/9: I will be away at a conference at the College of Staten Island (link opens a PDF file) and class will not meet. Instead, read ahead in Bodega Dreams and I’ll catch you next Tuesday. As always, I’ll be checking in via email, so contact me with questions.
For Tuesday 10/14: finish Bodega Dreams: that is, up to page 213.
We’ll have a presentation by Jay, Joanna, and Nathaniel.
To guide your reading, think about the following things:
What are the key themes of the book? Mark specific examples of them in the text.
How do characters develop. What changes do you see? Are there any surprising changes? Again, note specific examples in the text.
What seem to be key turns of the plot?
How does Quiñonez present urban space and the urban experience? How do different characters see the neighborhood that they live in?
What is the role of culture?