Paula Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What information does Allende provide to begin her book?

Isabel Allende is a native of Chile, her father a cousin of Salvador Allende. At the beginning of this non-fiction work, we are told by the author that her adult daughter, Paula, is critically ill in a hospital in Spain. The author has joined her side. Initially, her daughter slips in and out of consciousness from complications of porphyria.

2. Why does Allende decide to write this book?

In order to pass the time, the writer, who has written many successful novels, is encouraged to write a novel or some factual accounts of the family history while she is sitting by her daughter's side. She is writing this book as though it is a letter to her daughter, one she hopes Paula will read when she recovers from her illness.

3. Describe the format of the book.

Rather than having chapters, the book simply continues on much like a diary. In the early entries, the author goes back and forth between her own family history and the day-to-day events that occur at the hospital.

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