66 pages 2 hours read

We Are Not Free

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2020

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Throughout the novel, there is sometimes the illusion of free choice within the camps, despite the frequent disruption to prisoners’ daily lives by racism and injustice. How do different characters come to learn about freedom in the novel, and what do they eventually conclude about it? Consider these points as you reflect on the text to answer the question.

  • In what ways do certain activities or characteristics of daily life in the camps appear to reflect or represent freedom?
  • How are the camps fundamentally not free?  
  • What lessons seem to prevail in the camps regarding choice, decision-making, and independence?
  • How is this false appearance of freedom rooted in the themes of The Power of Friendship and Family and The Mutability of Home?

Teaching Suggestion: It may be helpful to open discussion with examples of other groups from history or literature whose restricted freedoms parallel these characters in some way. Consider starting with the second bullet as a way to lay the foundation without oversimplifying the trauma these prisoners endured.

Differentiation Suggestion: Students who benefit from close reading strategies and students with executive functioning and other learning differences may achieve at a higher level if they utilize supplied quotes for analysis. These and similar quotations from the novel may be helpful in discussing the prompt and theme:

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