Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free

1549 Words 7 Pages
Today, when the country of Dominican Republic comes to mind, some ideas that are commonly associated with the country consist of vibrancy, festiveness, beaches, and exoticism. What many do not realize is that the Dominican Republic was once a disastrous place to live in. In Before We Were Free, Julia Alvarez explores this world and the harsh circumstances that the characters deal with. It is a captivating piece of historical fiction in which the author focuses on the three themes of freedom, power, and maturation. Alvarez develops the main character Anita’s unfortunate situation through the theme of freedom. It is an extensive theme displayed throughout the novel as Anita and her family long for just a taste and go through desperate measures …show more content…
At the beginning of the story, Anita is a small and innocent girl living life like any other girl her age would. To be precise, Anita enters a very unfamiliar situation as the following takes place, “ ‘What’s happening?’ I keep asking. ‘Is something wrong?’ ‘Cotorrita,’ Papi warns playfully. That’s my nickname in the family because sometimes I talk too much, like a little parrot, Mami says,” (4). Like many young grade schoolers, it’s as if Anita is a non-stop talking machine. She bugs Papi for answers, even though Anita needs to realize that she needs to relax and not make matters worse by bothering her father. Soon, with the ongoing complications of the Dominican Republic and her family, Anita essentially has no other choice but to grow up and extremely mature. In this case, Anita and her mother share a deep and affectionate moment as their situation is filled with many unknowns and question marks leading to fear and anxiety: “ ‘Without the army, we’re lost.’ Mami begins sobbing. ‘And to think we were almost free.’ I reach out and stroke her back, like she just stroked mine” (103). At this point, the reader can now recognize Anita’s maturation throughout the novel. Just as Mami beings to sob, Anita comes to her support, comforting her through the struggles which is showing huge signs of maturation. The fact that Anita had to vastly grow up in such a limited amount of time shines light on the process that it took. Anita starts as a young, innocent girl with no concerns to becoming a young woman taking on the world and her problems, each day at a time. Lastly, during the pre-teen ages, one experiences many physical and mental changes and Anita is no exception. Sam, a boy the same age as Anita moves in just next to her house, as she develops strong feelings for him through bonding: “My uncle claims I’ve grown up in the

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