Ernesto Quiñonez/Chino mentions Piri Thomas as a cultural figure that got right the struggles of Puerto Ricans in El barrio. How this poem resonates with the novel? What ideas they share?
Book II, Rounds 1-4
In these chapters, author Ernesto Quiñonez keeps exploring the topic of Latinxs and education by presenting a flashback of a violent event in Junior High. After being confronted by a bigot English teacher, Mr. Blessington, Sapo bites him in the neck (something similar happened to the assassinated journalist). Quiñonez also expands on the relationships between lawyer Nazario, Bodega, and Julio. We learn how Nazario is the face of Bodega’s operation in the neighborhood. He is respected and feared in the streets but he distributes help and directly interacts with the community. Chino also confirms that Bodega effectively sent Sapo to kill Salazar the journalist allegedly working with a “Big Fish” from Loisaida (Bodega’s rival, Fischman). He also discovers that Bodega used him in order to present himself as “family” to Vera (Bodega organized the donation and the ceremony). Lastly, these chapters present the reunification and re-ignited romance between Willie Bodega and Vera (Izzy and Veronica). Veronica seems impressed by Willie’s acquisitive power.
Oral presentation on the novel Bodega Dreams (Pages 83-127).
After re-reading pages 106-107, what do you think of Bodega and Nazario’s plan for el Barrio, what ideas seem reasonable? Which ones do you oppose or make you conflicted? Discuss both pros and cons.