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 does Anita's mother want her to do with her diary?

2. Why do the teacher and the two visitors step into the hallway?

3. When does Anita use a pencil?

4. What influence does Mr. Smith have on the behavior of some of the families?

5. Who comes over to spend time with Sammy?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What do Anita and Chucha see at Toni's house and what does Chucha tell Anita?

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

5. What do Sammy, Anita and Oscar discuss?

6. How does Antia compare American elections to those of her country?

7. What do Sam and Anita see at Tio Tony's home and what do they decide to do about it?

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

9. What happens when the teacher wants the children to play secret Santa for Christmas?

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

Over the course of "Before We Were Free," Anita grows as a person in both complexity and understanding. Discuss the following:

1. Define Bildungsroman or "Coming of Age," and give several examples from literature you have read.

2. Trace and analyze the character of Anita as she changes from a more carefree, innocent girl to a wiser, young woman. What are the significant events that change Anita?

3. After thoroughly analyzing Anita's growth throughout "Before We Were Free," do you think "Before We Were Free" could be considered Anita's coming-of-age story? Why or why not?

4. Are there any other characters in "Before We Were Free" who go through a coming-of-age experience? If yes, who and why do you think so?

Essay Topic 3

Characters are an integral and important part of almost all novels. Discuss the following:

1. Compare and contrast the characters of Anita and Lucinda. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there a flaw in each of their personalities? Be specific and give examples.

2. Compare and contrast the characters of Sam and Oscar. How do they seem different? Which do you like more? Why? Which one seems more of a well-rounded person?

3. Thoroughly analyze how three of the secondary characters in "Before We Were Free" help drive the plot and what their contribution is to the storyline. Are any of the secondary characters unnecessary? Indispensable? Which of the secondary characters are likable? Which are either unlikable or even despicable? Be specific and give examples.

(see the answer keys)

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