Coming of Age and Patriarchy in Dominicana

Students examine what it means to come of age and be disenfranchised as a female undocumented immigrant in a community plagued by machismo culture. While reading Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, students will track pivotal moments in the psychological or moral development of the protagonist, Ana from youth to maturity, specifically noting when she recognizes her place in the world.

Unit Summary

“When Juan gets mad, it's as if my dependence on him fuels the transformation in his body from concern, to anger, to fury. The veins in his neck swell, his eyes bulge, and he yells, You want trouble for us? - Angie Cruz in Dominicana

In Unit 3, students examine what it means to come of age and what it means for women, specifically those from immigrant cultures, to be disenfranchised by patriarchy, through their reading of Angie Cruz’s Dominicana and supplemental texts.  Throughout this unit, students will examine how authors craft a line of reasoning using logical claims and supporting evidence to develop their arguments in nonfiction, analyze how key moments in a text shape a character’s psychological and moral development in fiction, and identify and analyze shifts in poetry and how they contribute to meaning.

This unit starts with a close reading of “Do Works by Men Implicated by #MeToo Belong in the Classroom?”, and provides students the opportunity to engage in a controversial academic debate while building their knowledge about the #MeToo movement. In the remainder of the first arc of the unit, students read various essays, short stories, and poems to continue building their knowledge around patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and machismo culture. Texts include “Do Works by Men Implicated by #MeToo Belong in the Classroom?”, “#MeToo Has Done What the Law Could Not”,  “How to Be a Man”, “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma”, and “Blackberry-Picking.” At the end of arc one, students will engage in a Socratic seminar and write an insight piece, putting various authors and texts into conversation with each other and reaching a new conclusion.

The second arc of the unit is a novel study of Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, a bildungsroman novel that tells the story of Ana, a teenage girl from the Dominican Republic, who gets married via an arranged marriage and moves to New York City with her husband Juan to provide a better life for her family. While reading this novel, students will track pivotal moments in the psychological or moral development of the  protagonist, Ana from youth to maturity, specifically noting when she recognizes her place in the world.

In the third and final arc of the unit, students will engage in a Summative Unit Seminar on Cruz’s Dominicana and prepare for the Unit Performance Task that asks students to conduct research, craft an argument, and participate in a formal debate in response to the question: Do works by men Implicated by #MeToo belong on TV and in Film?

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Flatiron Books)  

Supporting Materials

Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 3 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Key Knowledge

Essential Questions

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Thematic

  • Coming of Age: What does it mean to come of age? How do societal and cultural norms influence our psychological and moral development? To what extent can individuals resist societal and cultural norms as they come of age? 
  • Gender & Power: How do gender and power intersect and what is the impact of that intersectionality on our development? 
  • Machismo Culture & Toxic Masculinity: How does machismo culture impact Latina women’s identity formation?

Skills

  • What is a bildungsroman novel? How do authors structure bildungsroman novels to illuminate central ideas?

Themes

In order to successfully teach this unit, you must be intellectually prepared at the highest level, which means reading and analyzing all unit texts before launching the unit and understanding the major themes the authors communicate through their texts. By the time your students finish reading this text, they should be able to articulate and explain the major themes the authors communicate through their texts related to the following thematic topics as they uncover them organically through reading, writing, and discourse. While there is no one correct thematic statement for each major topic discussed in the unit texts, there are accurate (evidence-based) and inaccurate (non–evidence-based) interpretations of what the authors are arguing. Below are some exemplar thematic statements.

  • Coming of Age
    • Through Ana’s story, Cruz teaches us that coming of age is not always something that happens with our permission. It sometimes happens to us, unwillingly. It is our innocence being ripped away, us recognizing our own disillusionment, and that both that good and bad exists in this world.
    • Societal and cultural norms, such as arranged marriage, often serve as the catalyst for our moral and psychological development.  
  • Gender & Power: How do gender and power intersect and what is the impact of that intersectionality on our development? 
    • Gender roles and relations dictate and shape power. When one gender is given power in society, it is often at the expense of one gender being deprived of power. When we see that, we need to question and call out the inequity of the power dynamics at play and make conscious decisions to reverse it. 
  • Machismo Culture & Toxic Masculinity: 
    • Machismo culture and toxic masculinity are ingrained in many cultures, setting expectations for how men act, behave, and interact with women. 
    • Living in communities and households plagued by machismo culture and toxic masculinity disenfranchises women, especially those who are female immigrants.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

dependent clause derail deference efficient entrepreneur indistinguishable ladle menacing monotony ravenous refuge sarcastic scrutinize tirade vulnerable

Literary Term

bildungsroman complex sentence independent clause narrator perspective symbol/symbolism

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 9th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Lesson Map

Standards

Core Standards

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L.9-10.1.b

LO 1.2A

LO 1.2B

LO 1.3A

LO 1.3B

LO 1.4A

LO 1.4B

LO 2.2A

LO 2.2B

LO 2.2D

LO 2.2E

LO 2.3C

LO 3.1A

LO 3.3A

LO 4.1A

LO 4.1B

LO 4.1B

LO 4.1C

LO 4.2A

LO 4.2B

LO 5.1A

LO 5.1B

RI.9-10.2

RI.9-10.4

RI.9-10.5

RI.9-10.6

RI.9-10.8

RL.9-10.2

RL.9-10.3

RL.9-10.3

RL.9-10.4

RL.9-10.5

RL.9-10.6

SL.9-10.1

SL.9-10.1.a

SL.9-10.1.b

SL.9-10.1.c

SL.9-10.1.d

SL.9-10.2

W.9-10.1

W.9-10.1.a

W.9-10.1.b

W.9-10.1.c

W.9-10.1.d

W.9-10.1.e

W.9-10.7

W.9-10.8

W.9-10.9

Supporting Standards

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L.9-10.4

L.9-10.6

LO 1.1A

LO 1.1C

LO 2.1A

LO 2.1B

LO 2.2C

LO 2.3A

LO 2.3B

LO 2.3D

RI.9-10.1

RL.9-10.1

W.9-10.10

W.9-10.2

W.9-10.2.a

W.9-10.2.b

W.9-10.2.c

W.9-10.2.d

W.9-10.2.e