Thursday April 2: Bodega Dreams conclusion and VOTE!!

For Thursday April 2: Read pages 107-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams.

We’ll start with a presentation by Elijah, Breonna, and Pretiva.

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?
  • Now for the fun part. I’m switching up the film I usually show and have boiled the numerous possible candidates down to a few finalists and I’m kicking the decision to you to vote for the one you want to see. What I’m looking for is something that shows NYC neighborhoods (or at least a neighborhood) with several outdoor shots, intersects with at least some of the themes we’ve seen, is in the time period we’re looking at but old enough to show a NYC that’s probably unfamiliar, and, honestly, I have or can get my hands on easily. It’s a quasi-scientific process with a heavy does of gut instinct. So here are the options: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and Walter Hill’s The Warriors. I was also going for something that’s not too dark or depressing.

    Here are trailers for both films, courtesy of YouTube. After that, make your choice with the poll below! One vote each (and current students only, please). The poll will close next Wednesday before class.

    Announcement: Aura Rodriguez from our class is involved with the following play that will be performed at Lehman next week. Details follow if you want something to do on-campus before spring break.

    “Price of Silence the Lehman born global theatre collective, which brings to life the struggle for women’s rights around the world for audiences to live and breathe activism, is returning to Lehman, April 1st and 2nd at 8 pm in the Lovinger Theatre. We are using theatre as a means of enculturation, to empower a new culture through experience, and education because our common humanity depends on it. I would like to notify all my fellow students about “Blurred Lines of Justice,” our amazingly powerful performance based on real life narratives about women struggling for justice against impossible odds, juxtaposed to modern rape culture and misogyny. As a Lehman student, being a part of this movement and this show that brings to the stage real stories of real people around the world has helped me become empowered to use my education, to join the fight against violence against women and make lasting social change. I encourage you all to join together and recognize the power of a collective influence in shaping the culture we live in. Break the Silence for your own reasons, for women all over the world, for the children that rise from them, for justice and for an end to violence in all forms.”
    Details are at their website.
    POS Flyer1a


    March 26th: Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams


    For Thursday, March 26:, we move to the first novel of the semester. Read the first half — pages 1-107 — in Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams.

    Presentation by Amanda, Neralda, and Victoria.

    A few things to pay attention to in the book are:

  • The characters Quiñonez creates and what slice of city life they show
  • How urban space is shown in the book and what different characters think about their surroundings
  • More specifically, track how different characters see their neighborhood
  • The role of culture and what it means
  • Quiñonez’s relationship as a writer to Pietri and Piñero (there are numerous references to both and their poetry throughout the book)
  • The “American Dream” and what it means to the characters in the book
  • How different generations of immigrants/migrants relate to the city and city life
  • 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).

    March 19th: Nuyorican Drama — Miguel Piñero’s Short Eyes



  • Next week I’ll be away at a conference. We don’t meet next week at all, but I’m reachable via email.
  • Remember that papers are due via email, even though we don’t meet in person. See the assignment sheet for details.
  • Dutchman closes this Sunday, so if you’ve really been procrastinating, now’s your last shot to see it and finish the assignment on time.
  • As always, check the course updates page for the latest.
  • Darren Lamb, who visited us last week has a play Fight! Five Plays of Repenption Through Resistance running at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café from 3/8-11.

    For Thursday, March 19th read “The Drama of Miguel Piñero” at the front of Outlaw and read Piñero’s play Short Eyes (pages 193-243). We’ll start the class with a student presentation by Julian, Aura, and Joe.

    Questions to think about to guide your reading:

  • What characters does he show in the play?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • What’s the setting he chooses and what side of the city does that show?
  • What are some of the key themes the play deals with?
  • Identify key points of the play where the storyline (plot) turns or changes. Mark significant points where this happens in your book and write them down in your notes. What causes the plot turns and how might actors on stage make them believable?

    Watch the legendary singer Curtis Mayfield sing one of the songs from the film version (he also had a small part in the film and composed/performed the soundtrack).