Analysis Of Before We Were Free By Julia Alvarez

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Julia Alvarez, the author of “Before We Were Free”, has personally experienced what the characters in her book have encountered. Alvarez, having had to grow up in the Dominican Republic, was closely involved in the underground works to relinquish the dictator, Trujillo. The story is a reputable representation of the Hispanic culture. Because Alvarez has firsthand knowledge of the conflict in the Dominican Republic, she has merit to compose a book that brings life to the culture. In order to fully understand the culture she describes, you need to know and appreciate the author’s background. In reading the novel, you will become immersed in this rich cultural piece of literature.
Julia Alvarez is a person who has seen the depths of disparity,
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Alvarez shows us in the depths of the Hispanic culture set in the conflict of the Trujillo dictatorship. The conflict in the story is what gave Alvarez the opportunity to highlight the true Hispanic culture: a family in distress, how they are brave, and deeply care for each other. The de la Torre are a tight-knit Hispanic family who is living under the rule of El Jefe. The family in the story shows us how to be brave, with strong family bonds. Strong family bonds in the Hispanic culture is comparable to other cultures. In the Hispanic culture, family comes first; this is exactly what the characters in the novel portray. You can see it best when Anita’s family sent Lucinda off to America for safety from El Jefe. Anita explains her feelings in her journal by saying, “I feel relief to hear that my sister will be safe, even though it means Lucinda has to go away. It’s like one of those operations where they save your life but take out some big part of you” (pg. 74). Inside of Anita’s thoughts, she shows the compassion she has for her sister. Anita wants to keep Lucinda around, but she knows that leaving the Dominican Republic is going to keep her safe. We can clearly see that this culture values their family and their safety. If the family wasn’t concerned about Lucinda’s safety, she may have had a different fate. Although family is a huge part of this culture, it is not the only admired …show more content…
An example of bravery in the novel is when Mami told Anita that she couldn’t write in her journal anymore. Mami is afraid the SIM will find it and use it against their family. After Mami explains this to Anita, Anita becomes sad, so Mami’s response is: “‘For now, we have to be like the little worm in the cocoon of the butterfly. All closed up and secret until the day. . .’ She spreads her arms as if they were wings” (pg. 53). The quote is a good example of the families involved in the regime against the dictator who had to be brave, above all other, knowing that one day they will be free. The bravery had spread like a tsunami wave around the Dominican Republic, right after the “butterflies” were brutally murdered. Throughout the novel, glimpses of the “mariposa” story show up. The butterflies consist of four sisters who started to plot against the dictatorship. When three of the women were driving on a deserted road they were confronted by the SIM, brutally murdered, placed in their car and pushed off a cliff, in order to make it look like an accident. The conflict in the story gave leeway for Alvarez to use butterflies as a strong symbol in the book; giving it the connotation of freedom. An example of this happens in the story after the dictator was murdered, Papi and his friends come barging into the house shouting “¡Que vivan Las Mariposas! Long live the Butterflies!” (pg. 98). The word brings much joy

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