Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Before We Were Free: Introduction
Before We Were Free: Plot Summary
Before We Were Free: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Before We Were Free: Themes
Before We Were Free: Quotes
Before We Were Free: Characters
Before We Were Free: Symbols
Before We Were Free: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Julia Alvarez
Historical Context of Before We Were Free
Other Books Related to Before We Were Free
- Full Title: Before We Were Free
- When Written: 2001–2002
- Where Written: Vermont, United States
- When Published: 2002
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Historical Fiction; Young Adult Novel
- Setting: The Dominican Republic; 1960–1961
- Climax: After Papi helps assassinate Trujillo, Anita and Mami go into hiding in the Mancinis’ closet.
- Antagonist: Trujillo/El Jefe/Mr. Smith
- Point of View: First Person
Extra Credit for Before We Were Free
Silent Treatment. When Alvarez published How the García Girls Lost Their Accents in 1991, it didn’t take long for it to become a highly acclaimed bestseller. However, because of the autobiographical elements of the book, Alvarez’s mother refused to speak to her for months after its publication.
Giving Back. To give back to the Dominican Republic, Alvarez and her husband purchased an organic coffee farm there in 1996. They set it up as a foundation and started a school on the premises to help raise literacy rates in the area, which were as low as 5 percent.