Puerto Rican Culture

Bodega Dreams (Pages 1-42; Book I Rounds 1-4)- Ernesto Quiñonez

Entry Question

Have you had a similar experience of neglect and cultural erasure in your schools as the ones described by Chino in Bodega Dreams?

Bodega Dreams (Chapters 1-4)

In these first chapters, Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian novelist Ernesto Quiñonez establishes, Julio, aka Chino as a central narrator. Chino describes his experiences growing up in El barrio, a marginalized Puerto Rican and Latinx neighborhood up until the 90s (the present of the story). Through Chino’s rendition of these pages, the reader gets an urban portrait and identifies four major characters:

.Sapo, a street hustler that loves Harlem

.Nancy, his wife, and a complex moral compass

.Willie Bodega, an ex-Young Lord activist turned shady realtor and the neighborhood’s benefactor

.Nazario, a lawyer, and Bodega’s partner


Pedro Pietri’s “Puerto Rican Obituary”

How do Pietri’s concerns match Quiñonez/Chino’s description of Harlem? (Pages 4-5)

Oral presentation on the novel Bodega Dreams (pages 1-42).



Chain Reactions

.How Chino’s account about education illuminates larger social issues in El Barrio (East Harlem)? (Pages 6-7)

.How Chino’s perception of El barrio changes once he gets married to Nancy and goes to Hunter College? (Pages 12-13)

.What racial and gender stereotypes emerge when we consider Chino’s description of sisters Nancy (“Blanca”) and (“Negra”)? (Pages 9, 21)

.Describe Willie Bodega’s vision of Puerto Rican and Latinx uplift and its connection to real state and ownership. (Pages 28-30; 35,37)

.How do the Young Lords’ community aid and revolutionary activism resemble and differentiate from Bodega’s current plan? (Pages 31-33)