Week of April 10: (Night class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet for the the second paper on The Warriors and it’s due April 17. Details on the assignments page. You can view The Warriors (or Do the Right Thing which we’re not officially watching this semester) on the Video page: same password as everything else. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch.
  • I’ll be returning the first paper to you via the same email address you sent it from. Look for it tomorrow.
  • I probably don’t need to say this, but we’re off next week for spring break
  • There’s an important event on Wednesday April 11: former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins will be visiting Lehman! The event’s from 4-5 PM in the Music Building’s Faculty Dining Room (right inside the main entrance on the first floor). Event flyer’s here (PDF). Extra credit is available is you’re attending and want to write something up. The assignment sheet for the extra credit will be available on the assignments page the week we return from break.
  • Have a great spring break!

On Tuesday, 4/10, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”

Read the first 3 chapters: up to page 45 (Chapters 1-3) in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?

On Thursday, 4/12, Read pages 47-111 (Chapters 4-5) in Soledad.

Presentation by Bryan, Anthony, and Justin.

 

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Week of April 10: (Day class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet for the the second paper on Do the Right Thing and it’s due April 17. Details on the assignments page. You can view Do the Right Thing (or The Warriors which we’re not officially watching this semester) on the Video page: same password as everything else. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch.
  • I’ll be returning the first paper to you via the same email address you sent it from. Look for it tomorrow if you haven’t gotten it yet.
  • I probably don’t need to say this, but we’re off next week for spring break
  • There’s an important event on Wednesday April 11: former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins will be visiting Lehman! The event’s from 4-5 PM in the Music Building’s Faculty Dining Room (right inside the main entrance on the first floor). Event flyer’s here (PDF). Extra credit is available is you’re attending and want to write something up. The assignment sheet for the extra credit will be available on the assignments page the week we return from break.
  • Have a great spring break!

On Tuesday, 4/10, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”

Read the first 3 chapters: up to page 45 in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?

On Thursday, 4/12, Read pages 47-111 (Chapters 4-5) in Soledad.

Presentation by Tandy, Jennifer, Chris, and Emma.

 

Thursday April 6: Soledad conclusion

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For Thursday 4/6 finish Soledad (end–page 230) in the new paperback edition. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

  • We’ve discussed the settings in class: the split between the East Village and Washington Heights and what each represents. Watch for locations as you read, how Cruz presents them, and what different urban spaces mean to key characters.
  • Point of view. Soledad comes from a female author and the P.O.V. the reader gets is primarily from women. What differences (if any) do you notice?
  • Following on the last point, one key subtext of the book are the various forms of violence against women. Think about this as you read and what it feels like for the various characters to move through urban spaces.
  • Culture. Another point of tension in the plot is the difference between the younger and older generations of characters and between more traditional Dominican culture and the different outlook that the younger, Americanized characters have. What are the differences between how characters see the world and their place in it?
  • What’s Soledad’s view of the American Dream and class mobility? Does it change over the course of the book? How?In addition to the general themes listed above, consider the following specific points:
  • What changes do we see in Soledad’s attitudes toward her mother, Richie, and Flaca?
  • How do her feelings towards the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights evolve?
  • What is the role of the supernatural or spirituality in the book’s conclusion?
  • How do memory and trauma affect the characters?
    Presentation by John, Julio, Dauris, and Fanny.
    Reminder: [Edit: the paper due date has been extended until 4/10–during spring break] The paper on The Warriors is due on 4/6. This weekend is the time to put some work into it if you haven’t yet. Review the assignment sheet and re-watch the film, taking good notes. Note: the video’s now available to stream on the video page. Strongly consider a trip to the ACE Center for help crafting your paper, especially if you want a good grade. Schedule an appointment for early next week to make sure you have time before the due date. Of course, you can run ideas past me via email and/or meet with me in office hours next week to discuss, no matter where you are in the process.

Thursday March 30: Angie Cruz’s Soledad, Part 1

On Thursday, 3/30, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”

Read the first 5 chapters: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?

Presentation by Ron, Angelica, Ritu, and Mamta.

Announcements: I gave out the assignment sheet for the the first paper today and it’s due April 6. Details on the assignments page. You can view The Warriors or Do the Right Thing (which we’re not officially watching this semester) on the Video page: same password as everything else.

Week of 11/15: Soledad conclusion and Def Poetry Jam

Note: be sure to check the assignments page for the next formal written assignment and keep working on it. You can re-watch Do the Right Thing on the Video page (note: uses the same password as readings) or view a copy in Lehman’s Library. You’ll have to watch the library’s copy there: they don’t loan it out. Of course, most online sources (iTunes, Amazon, Google, etc) have it available to stream, too.
 
cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lgOn Tuesday November 15th, we finish Angie Cruz’s novel Soledad. Read chapters 8-11 (end–page 230) in the new paperback edition. In addition to the points and themes we’ve been tracking all along, consider the following:
 

  • What changes do we see in Soledad’s attitudes toward her mother, Richie, and Flaca?
  • How do her feelings towards the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights evolve?
  • What is the role of the supernatural or spirituality in the book’s conclusion?
  • How do memory and trauma affect the characters?
  • What do you think of the conclusion? Is it realistic? What happens to Soledad at the end?
  •  
    On Tuesday, we’ll start with a presentation by Amber, Lorayne, Chris, and Geovanni.

    def-poetry-jam
    For Thursday November 17th the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway. Assignment: Write 1 page (typed, double spaced) on one poem from the list below. How does it reflect the urban experience? Does It? Why is it appealing to you? Print it out and bring it with you to class on Thursday.

    Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times and be prepared to discuss in class.
     
    Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.

  • Week of November 8: Soledad

    4532037658_c96e8fa3fa_o
    Photo: “Washington Heights Piece” by Flickr user Aoife. Creative Commons licensed.

    On Thursday, 11/3, I’ll be away at the African Heritage Studies Association Conference in Washington DC and doing a talk at Dr. Josh Myers’s class at Howard University. No additional assignment: just read ahead in Soledad, which we’ll get to in a minute…

    Announcement: See the assignments page for the assignment I gave out on Tuesday 11/1, due 11/22 on Dp the Right Thing

    On Tuesday November 8th, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

    Presentation by Lisa, Kaylynn, Alondra, and Jossie.
     

    Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
    Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”
    Read up to chapter 5: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?
  • cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

    For Thursday November 10th, read pages 112-174, chapters 6-7 (halfway through chapter 8 in the paperback) of Soledad. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

  • We’ve discussed the settings in class: the split between the East Village and Washington Heights and what each represents. Watch for locations as you read, how Cruz presents them, and what different urban spaces mean to key characters.
  • Point of view. Soledad comes from a female author and the P.O.V. the reader gets is primarily from women. What differences (if any) do you notice?
  • Following on the last point, one key subtext of the book are the various forms of violence against women. Think about this as you read and what it feels like for the various characters to move through urban spaces.
  • Culture. Another point of tension in the plot is the difference between the younger and older generations of characters and between more traditional Dominican culture and the different outlook that the younger, Americanized characters have. What are the differences between how characters see the world and their place in it?
  • Thursday April 21: Soledad conclusion

    4532037658_c96e8fa3fa_o

    For Thursday 4/21 finish Soledad (end–page 230) in the new paperback edition. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

  • We’ve discussed the settings in class: the split between the East Village and Washington Heights and what each represents. Watch for locations as you read, how Cruz presents them, and what different urban spaces mean to key characters.
  • Point of view. Soledad comes from a female author and the P.O.V. the reader gets is primarily from women. What differences (if any) do you notice?
  • Following on the last point, one key subtext of the book are the various forms of violence against women. Think about this as you read and what it feels like for the various characters to move through urban spaces.
  • Culture. Another point of tension in the plot is the difference between the younger and older generations of characters and between more traditional Dominican culture and the different outlook that the younger, Americanized characters have. What are the differences between how characters see the world and their place in it?
  • In addition to the general themes listed above, consider the following specific points:

  • What changes do we see in Soledad’s attitudes toward her mother, Richie, and Flaca?
  • How do her feelings towards the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights evolve?
  • What is the role of the supernatural or spirituality in the book’s conclusion?
  • How do memory and trauma affect the characters?
  •  

    Presentation by Priscilla, Angela, Darlene, and Anthony.

     
    Reminder: The paper on Do the Right Thing is due on 4/25. This weekend is the time to put some work into it if you haven’t yet. Review the assignment sheet and re-watch the film, taking good notes. Strongly consider a trip to the ACE Center for help crafting your paper, especially if you want a good grade. Schedule an appointment for early next week to make sure you have time before the due date. Of course, you can run ideas past me via email and/or meet with me in office hours next week to discuss, no matter where you are in the process.