Bodega Dreams Analysis

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Lessons from Bodega Dreams (Draft)
Bodega Dreams is a fiction novel published in 2000 written by American author Ernesto Quinonez. The author was born in 1966 in Ecuador and currently resides in New York, New York. Aside from being a novelist, he was also an elementary public school teacher, and at present, he is serving as an assistant professor in the creative writing program at Cornell University (Gale; He has written another novel titled Chango’s Fire published in 2004 (Gale). Bodega Dreams launched him as a serious writer and earned him several awards to include Village Voice’s “Writer on the Verge” in the year 2000 and the Jerome Dejur award also in 2000 (Gale). The New York Times and Time Magazines gave Bodega Dreams
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Sapo spat out a chunk of Blessington’s flesh, bouncing it off Blessington’s left cheekbone. Covered in blood and saliva, Blessington’s eyes were frozen in disbelief. (James et al.124 from Bodega Dreams)
Through the eyes of Chino, Quinonez was able to give a first-hand account of how Sapo retaliated to Mr. Blessington’s insults and physical aggression. This scene would not have carried the same impact if it were not told from Chino’s viewpoint. Quinonez was able to describe the scene as an eyewitness account instead of a mere description of events because of Chino’s role as the narrator.
Character relatability. Quinonez was very effective in making his characters real and relatable by using casual conversations in the way his characters communicated with each other. The verbal expressions of the characters were done so realistically and naturally. This technique added to the depth of humanization of each character allowing the audience to forget that they are just characters in a fictional novel. The characters of Chino and Sapo came to life as they talk, with the boldness and frankness of kids growing up poor and as a minority, in a world they are trying to fit in desperately. Quinonez also used Spanish and slanged words to convey strong emotions of his characters making them more authentic and realistic. The following was spoken by Sapo as he reasoned out to his teacher Mr. Blessington:
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Although Bodega Dreams is a work of fiction, it tackles the sensitive subject of how immigrant children navigate the society they are thrust in. Being poor and being a minority further complicates the journey into the pursuit of the American dream. As of 2011, it is estimated that 13% of the U.S population was born outside of the United States (Portes and Rivas, 220). The sheer volume of this statistic makes the positive adaptation of this new generation of Americans a priority. However, the inclusion of immigrant children into mainstream society is not an easy path. Quinonez was able to capture in Bodega Dreams the struggles of the children in their attempts to move forward in the new culture and nation that they now call home. Self-identity and self-esteem of these children have been argued to be of high importance if they are to be successfully integrated into their new society (Portes and Rivas, 228). Often the primary exposure of these children in the mainstream society is through the school system. Sadly, it is also here where stereotypes and prejudice are directly experienced. A study conducted by Werhun and Penner found that negative stereotyping leads to prejudicial treatment even when this prejudiced treatment is expressed as an act of assistance (911). Quinonez’s depiction of Mr. Blessington serves as an example of this prejudice. Mr. Blessington sees himself as a savior of his students. He believes that his teachings about Frost despite his
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