Before We Were Free Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is decided about Susie's birthday?

2. How many men in dark glasses are in the Volkswagons?

3. Where is Tio Tony?

4. What is Anita inclined to say about Oscar's comments about the country?

5. Who is Carla?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Sammy, Anita and Oscar discuss?

2. The morning after Chucha moves in, who arrives at the compound after Anita's father leaves?

3. How does Anita begin to see their leader in a different light?

4. What are Carla and her siblings told to do when they get home, and what does Carla do?

5. Where is Anita at the opening of the story, and what is she doing?

6. What does Chucha reply when Anita asks about seeing her cousins again, and how does Anita feel about the answer?

7. How do Anita and Carla react to Carla's leaving, and how does Mami comfort them?

8. Why does Anita's mother send Anita to Tio Toni's home on her way to the party?

9. How does Anita's mother talk to her for the first time?

10. What does Papi say when he returns from work?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in "Before We Were Free." Are these universal symbols? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other symbols that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Alvarez chose the symbols she did?

2. Choose two important metaphors and trace and analyze their appearance in the novel. Are these universal metaphors? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other metaphors that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Alvarez chose the metaphors she did?

3. Discuss Alvarez's use (or lack ) of literary device (such as foreshadowing, clifthangers, deux ex machina, etc...), and how they add or detract from the story. Does Alvarez use too many or too little literary techniques? State which of the five major elements of fiction the literary device is related to (style, character, plot, setting, theme).

Essay Topic 2

"Before We Were Free" belongs to the young-adult-novel genre. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "genre" and give examples of three other genres in addition to the young-adult-novel genre.

2. Discuss two reasons that it might be useful to label a text by genre and two reasons that it might be disadvantageous to do so.

3. What do you think is the difference between a young-adult novel and a historical mystery novel ?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the following:

1. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot? Define any elements that you list. Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of "Before We Were Free," identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot or the various elements? Why or why not?

3. Identify the major sub-plots in "Before We Were Free," identifying their various elements. (The subplots may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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