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 happens when Anita asks adults about her country's leader?

2. What does Mami tell Anita and Lucinda to do?

3. When does Anita use a pencil?

4. What does Lucinda tell Susie about her upcoming birthday?

5. What does Anita help Carla do?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Sammy, Anita and Oscar discuss?

2. Why does Anita use a pencil in her journal?

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

4. What does Mami say about why the family is staying in the country?

5. What does the teacher tell Carla and Anita after she goes outside to talk to Carla's mother?

6. What does Anita's mother say when the children are allowed to go back to school?

7. Why is Anita spending more time in the bathroom?

8. Describe Chucha and why she is mentioned.

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

10. When is school supposed to re-open and what happens at that time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Characters are an important part of what makes "Before We Were Free" interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Thoroughly discuss and analyze Anita. What are her strengths? Her weaknesses? How does she contribute to the plot? Is she a sympathetic character? Is she ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

2. Thoroughly discuss and analyze the character of Chucha. What are her strengths? Her weaknesses? How does she contribute to the plot? Is she a sympathetic character? Is she ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

3. Thoroughly discuss and analyze the character of Sam. What are his strengths? His weaknesses? How does he contribute to the plot? Is he a sympathetic character? Is he ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

4. Thoroughly discuss and analyze the character of Oscar. What are his strengths? His weaknesses? How does he contribute to the plot? Is he a sympathetic character? Is he ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

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

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).

(see the answer keys)

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