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Before We Were Free

Summer Reading
by

Jason Bittker

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Before We Were Free

Before We Were Free
By: Julia Alvarez Genre
Realistic Fiction Setting The story takes place in the early 1960s in a small family compound in the Dominican Republic. Main Character Anita is the main character of the novel. Five adjectives to describe her are vulnerable, caring, detached, observant, and nosy. Three Secondary Characters
Lucinda, Tío Toni, and Chucha Lucinda is Anita's older sister. Anita would frequently ask Lucinda about the political status of the country and the dictator. Lucinda was forced to move to New York with her cousins, leaving Anita alone. Tío Toni is Anita's uncle. Toni hides in the family compound while he is helping Anita's father and other men plan the assassination of the dictator. Whenever the SIM (the Dominican Republic police) visit their compound, Anita is responsible for alerting Toni and the other men. Chucha is Anita's nanny and maid. Chucha is very spiritual and she always helped Anita through her tough times. She frequently reminded Anita to fly like a butterfly. Conflict Society vs. Society
The government in the Dominican Republic is a dictatorship run by El Jefe. Anita's family and other families want to kill the dictator and live a better life. Many men are planning the assassination of the dictator. However, the men must keep these meetings secret from the government. Person vs. Self
Anita is troubled with the departure of her family and her lonely life in hiding. She has mixed emotions and remains mute for most of the days in hiding. Climax The climax/turning point of the story is the assassination of El Jefe. Resolution El Jefe's son takes over the role as dictator. Anita's father was captured and killed by the SIM. Therefore, Anita and her mother hid in their friend's closet. After that, they were able to escape to the United States and reunite with their family. Theme One theme in the novel is freedom comes at a cost. The dictator's assassination didn't ensure freedom for Anita and her family. However, Anita's father and uncle were killed and El Jefe's son continued to run a harsh dictatorship. Therefore, Anita and her remaining family were forced to flee to the United States. Literary Element Julia Alvarez used a butterfly to symbolize freedom. Chucha repeatedly encouraged Anita to use her wings and fly. This phrase encouraged Anita to leave behind her hardships and gain her freedom. New Knowledge We now know how a group of people can kill a dictator and attempt to overthrow a government. How is it relevant? This book is relevant because there are many dictatorships in the world today. There may be similar groups to Anita's father's that are planning to assassinate a dictator and gain their freedom.
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