Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez

April 24, 2018
By Barry GOLD, Ashburnham, Massachusetts
Barry GOLD, Ashburnham, Massachusetts
12 articles 23 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
“To be awake is to be alive”

In the book Bodega Dreams written by Ernesto Quiñonez, the author depicts many relationships between Latino men and women, such as the one between Chino and Blanca, Bodega and Vera, and Roberto and Claudia. All these scenarios express the common theme of the men’s unfaltering and unconditional love for the women in the book. This love eventually leads Latino women to affect their men in noticeable ways. Therefore, in this story, Latino women have a higher status due to their lovers’ unwavering adoration for them, which leads to the women’s strong impact on men’s overall decisions and behaviors.
In this novel, Latino men demonstrate great care for the women they love. Therefore, their loved ones become their priority when they make decisions. These Latino women have a strong attraction to the men who fall in love with them. This is shown in the description that, “[Bodega’s] gaze was fixed on her with an intensity that indicated nothing else mattered or existed” (Quiñonez 112). The author uses “fixed”, “intensity” and “nothing else” to describe how concentrated Bodega is when he looks at Vera, which explains Vera’s deep attraction. Therefore, Latino men shows their love: Chino explains, “with Blanca next to me, El barrio seemed less dirty, life less hard, God less unjust” (Quiñonez 13). His expression of Blanca illustrates Blanca significant representation of Chino’s spiritual support, explaining Chino’s great love for Blanca. Sapo once asks Chino to transport drugs, but Chino said, “I was afraid. Not of the cops but of Blanca” (Quiñonez 19). Under this circumstance, he is not afraid of being arrested. Instead, his mind is full of his tremendous care for Blanca, which causes him to set Blanca as the priority when he makes decisions. His love for Blanca foreshadows Blanca’s influences on Chino’s pursuit. Moreover, Roberto even places Claudia in the highest position in his life. He says, “I don’t care if they take away my privileges, I can serve Christ as a regular brother. I don’t have to have all this status” (Quiñonez 165). Roberto’s willingness to give up everything – including his religious belief – as a follower of Christ, exemplifies Claudia’s importance in his life, which once again enhances the argument of the women’s impact on the men.
Because Latino women have high status in the relationship with men who love them, they, therefore, create a strong influence on the men. For example, Bodega sets Vera’s demands as his life-long goals. He says, “Didn’t I just tell you, she said she didn’t care that I didn’t have money, what bothered her was that I had no vision of how to get it” (Quiñonez 80). Here, to prove to Vera that he has the vision to gain wealth, Bodega then begins his career as a drug lord. The connection between Bodega’s identity as a drug lord and his identity as a lover is unveiled as Bodega clarifies the reason for becoming a drug dealer is to prove to Vera he is worthy of her love. Without the need to impress Vera, Bodega would never have become a drug dealer, and this fact strongly reveals Vera’s impact on Bodega. Similarly, Chino was at first determined not to help Bodega. However, because Chino always considers Blanca’s needs in the first place, instead of his, he eventually accepts Bodega’s offer: “Once I’d done with that, I could continue my life with Blanca and total clarity. We’d be living in a better place, clean and newly renovated” (Quiñonez 73). Chino only makes compromises with Bodega because he wants a bigger apartment for Blanca and the coming baby. Essentially, what he has done is all for Blanca. Even though Chino once had the goal of obtaining a good education and leaving the neighborhood for a bright future, which originates from his unwillingness to accept illegal deals in Harlem, his love for Blanca alters his firm mind, leading to him to accept Bodega’s work which is against his original dreams and moral standards.
Ultimately, the author of Bodega Dreams introduces how a man’s unconditional love for a woman can affect their behavior and decisions. Women in this novel are very influential and the men are obliged to follow their lead. The Latino men in this book demonstrate their unfaltering adoration for their women as they consider this love of lifetime most important in their lives. Therefore, Latino men have been significantly affected by Latino women.

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