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. Where is Anita when some black Volkswagons appear?

2. Besides Oscar, who helps Anita see their leader in a different light?

3. Who is the other person who comes into the classroom?

4. What do Anita and Chucha look at together?

5. What does Mami tell Anita and Carla to make them feel better?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Anita realize about Sam as she writes in her diary?

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

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

4. What does Mami ask Anita not to do?

5. What does Papi explain to Anita about Carla when Anita gets home?

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

7. What do Sammy, Anita and Oscar discuss?

8. Who comes into the classroom and what does the teacher do?

9. Who is moving in next door, and why is Anita particularly happy about it?

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

Often authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Julia Alvarez.

2. What in Alvarez's background may have helped her in writing "Before We Were Free"? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his or her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the following:

1. How do you define loyalty? Is the ability and desire to be loyal an admirable trait in humans? Why or why not? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being loyal to a person? A cause? A country? An idea? What do you think about blind loyalty; that is, what to do think of those who are loyal to something no matter what they learn about that person, thing, ideal, country, etc.

2. Discuss and analyze why you think Mr. Washburn remains loyal to Anita's family. Is it warranted? Wise? Earned? What other instances of loyalty occur in "Before We Were Free"? Is El Jefe's son's loyalty to his father admirable?

3. What other admirable traits besides loyalty are depicted in "Before We Were Free"? Discuss fully two of those traits with specific examples.

(see the answer keys)

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