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ileri jaiyeoba

on 5 December 2016

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Women in politics:
The author of this book is making connections to the role women play in society; in this book she displays four sisters and their fight for women’s better recognition. One of the sisters, Minerva, is greatly passionate in this as she longs to go to law school, throughout the book the author displays Minerva’s courage and all that she is willing to do to earn her place in society and respect for women.

Courage/ bravery:
the Mireval sisters are great historical heroines as they sacrificed their lives for the people of their country. Their bravery brought justice to the people of their country; their acts of bravery sparked a war within the Dominican Republic as people’s eyes were opened to the reality and injustice within their nation. These sisters displayed bravery through every single one of their actions knowing the consequences and still following their plans, they did what others were too afraid to do. They began a revolution in hope that one day their future generations would roam the streets without fear an unjust ruler. The Mireval sister’s story showed defiance sparked by their courage, although they went through some of the most tragic experiences they never gave up, even in their lowest points they fought against their abusive dictator.

In this book the author’s main theme is family, the revolution began within a family, their secret meetings and plans all revolved around their family. Not once did they wish to expose their family as these sisters fought for the future of their children, in the end all of the sisters maintained that bond their shared. Throughout the book they were often challenged by obstacles that interfered with their family and each time they overcame them. Along with their husbands and children these sisters prolonged the unity within their family.

the hope for liberty and a free nation are what began this revolution. Throughout the book this remained the sisters’ main objective. Their mission was to liberate their country.

throughout the book we encounter many scenes were forgiveness plays an important role. The sister’s had to forgive their father as he cheated on their mother with another woman, and for years he kept a family hidden from them. Lies after lies the sisters learn to overcome their anger and show forgiveness.


The Little Boat- The boat that Minerva wanted to take as a souvenir to her sister, makes her leave behind her purse. This is symbolic of the fact that in order to participate in the revolution, Minerva must leave behind her personal concerns. She needs to get rid of selfishness and think of others. By participating in the revolution, Minerva acts not for herself, but to improve the lives of others. Minerva is doing what she feels is right not because it benefits her personally, but because it is the right thing to do.(page 95)
Photos Photos are a big part of the rest of dede's life they are the only things she has to loo back on and to remember her sisters and family. It represents a way of reserving history, memories, and keeping the past alive(6)

The diary- of Mate Displays a means of reflection as well as the importance of recording and leaving a mark on society. It also explicitly displays the transformation of Mate's character. expressing her childish innocence and ordinary interest, next her interest in domestic life and possibly her beginning to think about the future then a picture of a bomb depicting her decision to become a revolutionary and her loss of innocence but instead gaining passion, and lastly her jail cell. Yet she was able to be released from jail reflecting that though after her struggle, there came freedom. This expresses how despite her death happened when she was ambushed and trapped, the result would ultimately lead to a greater freedom: her freedom in heaven as well as the freedom of her country.
Cross- the cross represents a souvenir from Patria’s life. Christianity was very important to Patria it is constant in her life since she was born she has lifted her hands up to the heaven dedicated herself to be a nun and then never gave on her faith. In the book she always refers back to the crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection.
Point of view:
each one of the sisters were different and Julia Alvarez had an unique writing style of making sure that each girl had their thoughts and feelings shared in each chapter. Instead of writing in the third person on the history of their lives, Alvarez uses first person accounts from the sisters showing the bravery they possessed that allowed them to defy Trujillo’s regime as well as the fears and suffering they had to face as a result of their rebellion.
“Sometimes, watching rabbits in their pens, I’d think, I’m no different from you, poor things”(Alvarez 11). This sentence is a perfect example of how Alvarez’s style of writing aids in her story telling. It gave me an understanding of how Minerva is feeling, not just what she does. I understood that she feels trapped at times, caged in like the rabbit. Minerva is considered the most courageous and defiant of the sisters. However, Alvarez shows that even Minerva has fears and uncertainties like all humans. When Minerva got out of prison she talked about how afraid she has became, claiming “I hid my anxieties and gave everyone a bright smile. If they had only known how frail was their iron-will heroine”(259).

Abstract of the female body:
embodied the sexuality of women: The girls discovers new means of verbal or written expression. The female body emerges as a form of expression in Butterflies which at times is connected to one of the characters’ revolutionary participation.
"Viva La Mariposas"- comparing women to butterflies

Characteristics of the Style-

Narration literally means to tell a story. Plot, setting & characterization = 3 key elements. came with a plot setting and charaterization.

Descriptive language creates a clear picture in your mind of what is being described. many verbs and adverbs were used.
I didn't want to hear how they did it. I saw the marks on Minerva's throat; fingerprints sure as day on Mate's pale neck. They also clubbed them, I could see that when I went to cut her hair. They killed them good and dead. But I do not believe they violated my sisters, no. I checked as best I could. I think it is safe to say they acted like gentlemen murders in that way. (303)
The visual aspect of the dead bodies is stronger than words.
Quotes from Julia Alvarez
The Dictatorship of Trujillo
"The characters took over, beyond polemics and facts. they became real to my imagination. i began to invent them?" pg. 323

"As for the sisters of legend, wrapped in superlatives and ascended into myth, they were finally also inaccessible to me. I realized, too, that such deification was dangerous, the same god-making umpulse that had created our tyrant. And ironically, by making them myth, we lost the Mirabals once more, dismissing the challenge of their courage as impossible for us, ordinary men and women" (from the postcript, page 324).

"During the thirty-one-year regime, any hint of disagreement ultimaytley resulted in death for the dissenter and often for members of his or her family. yet the mirabel sisteres had risked ther lives.i kept asking myself, what gave them that special courage" pg 323

"A novel is not, after all, a historical document, but a way to travel through the human heart."

"Obiviously, these sisters, who fought one tyrant, have served as models for women fighting against injustices of all kinds."
"Las Mariposas"
"If you had seen what i saw on that mountain.""ay Pedrito, how can we be true christians and turn our back on our brothers and sisters' pg.166
patria is trying to convince pwedrito to use their land to help with the secret group meetings, which pedrito disagreed on because his lland could be taken.

"Maybe she's right, what does love come to anyway? Look at Papa and Mama after so many years."
Mate generally distrust men and suffers fro m the fact that her father cheated on her mother and had a whole different family.
María Teresa
Mirabal Reyes María Teresa October 15, 1935 -November 25, 1960
María Argentina
Mirabal Reyes Minerva March 12, 1926 -November 25, 1960
Bélgica Adela Mirabal Reyes
March 1, 1925 February 1, 2014
Mercedes Mirabal Reyes Patria February 27, 1924 - November 25, 1960
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, the dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. As described by Sinita to Minerva, "Trujillo became president in a sneaky way. First, he was in the army, and all the people who were above him kept disappearing until he was the one right below the head of the whole armed forces."
Don Manuel:

Trujillo's right-hand man. He is a corrupt politician, like many of Trujillo's followers. Manuel does many of Trujillo's odd jobs, such as delivering messages and threats for him.

Virgilio Morales, nicknamed "Lio". He is a revolutionary, but unlike most, he is not underground. He speaks out publicly against the government, which is considered suicide. Lio was forced into hiding because of his actions against the government. He was very close to Minerva before he fled the country. He asked her to flee with him but Minerva did not get the letter in time because Dedé burned it rather than give it to her.

Jaimito is Dede's husband and cousin. Jaimito and Dede live on his farm after they are married. He is opposed to his wife's family's involvement in the revolution, and forbids her to join. When he and Dede were first married he was kind, but over the years he and Dede drift apart.

Minerva's good friend, whom she met at Inmaculada Catholic School for Girls. She later goes to Santo Domingo and becomes a revolutionary, just like Minerva. All the men in Sinita's' family were killed by Trujillo.
Rufino de la Cruz:
The Mirabals' driver whenever they rented a car to go over the mountains to visit their husbands in prison, he was very loyal to the "butterflies", and they trusted him wholeheartedly. He was murdered along with the Mirabal girls..


The third Mirabal sister, is a rebellious girl, she wants to become a lawyer which was very unusual for a farmer’s daughter also girls were not allowed to study law. She becomes the exception as she convinces Trujillo to let her study law, unfortunally he allowed her to study law not practice it. She has a brief romance with the revolutionary leader "Lio" before she meets Manolo in law school (also a revolutionary), and marries him. She has two children, a daughter Minou and a son Manolito

Dede is the second Mirabal sister. She is not as certain about the revolution as her sisters, and feels weaker because of that fact. She has mixed feelings about joining the revolution, so she doesn't. She uses her husband, Jaimito, as the reason she doesn't officially join. He doesn't want her involved in the revolution, this almost destroys their marriage. She is constantly worrying about her sisters, telling them they'll be killed. Her children: Enrique, Rafael, and David.
María Teresa:

The youngest of the four Mirabal sisters. She marries Leandro and has one daughter, named Jacqueline. She joined the revolution while she is living with her sister Minerva.

The oldest of the Mirabal sisters, she is very religious. While looking for her calling from God, she instead finds her husband, Pedrito, whom she marries at age 16. She takes the miscarriage of her third child as God's punishment towards her, which drives her further into a religious depression. She later regains her faith on a pilgrimage to Higuey that she takes with her mother and sisters. She is also a revolutionary, starting a Christian revolutionary group and merging it with her sister Minerva's revolutionary group.She has three children: Nelson, Noris, and Raul Ernesto.

Mother to the Mirabal girls, and married to Papa. She takes care of the girls and is always worried about them.
Father to the Mirabal girls, and married to Mama. He heads the family store.
Pedrito González:
A farmer. He married Patria Mirabal when she was 16, on February 24, 1947. He and his wife eventually join the revolution, along with their son, Nelson. He is later imprisoned, along with his brothers-in-law, Leandro and Manolo, for participating in the revolution. He and Patria have three children: Nelson, Noris, and Raulito.
A worker for the Mirabal family who claims to be a fortune teller. After the girls die, she claims to be possessed by them. Minou goes to Fela for a time to "talk" to her mother after her death.
One of Minerva's children. Like her mother, she is strong-willed and independent.

Historic background

Ileri Jaiyeoba
Judith Vega

In the time of the butterflies
Julia Alvarez

In the time of butterflies is based on a true historic event. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was a Dominican politician and soldier who ruled the Dominican Republic from February 1930 until he was assassinated in May of 1961. His ruling period was referred to as the era of Trujillo and it is considered to be one of the bloodiest ruling periods in the Americas. It has been estimated that during his ruling he was responsible for the death of more than 50,000 people, including the death of the Mirabal sisters. The Mirabal sisters opposed Trujillo’s dictatorship. Trhough out their fight for justice they were thereatened, jailed and finally assassinated on Novermber 25, 1960, in their honor this day is now recognized as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.

Julia Alvarez (born March 27, 1950) is a Dominican-American poet and novelist. She was born in New York of Dominican descent, When she was three months old, her family moved to the Dominican Republic , where they lived for the next ten years until her father's involvement in a political rebellion forced her family to flee the country. At a young age she attended a catholic school were she was one of the few Latin American students, there she faced discrimination because of her heritage. This caused her to develop a great fascination for literature and so she began her writing career. After working for a Master’s degree in1975, Alvarez took a position as a writer-in-residence for the Kentucky Arts Commission.  As well as writing, Alvarez holds the position of writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, where she teaches creative writing on a part-time basis.

In the Time of the Butterflies  is a historical novel by Julia Alvarez, in this novel she narrates the story of the Mirabal sisters and their struggle  during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic . The book was first published in 1994, the story was adapted into a film in 2001
This is the story of four sisters who organized an underground plot to overthrow the ruling dictator all the while being persecuted, jailed and exposing their families to the dangers of the dictator’s wrath. The book begins with Dede Mirabal the last of the surviving sisters, as the last surviving sister she is forced to tell the tragic story of her sisters heroic tale although at first she refuses to reveal and share any lasting memories…This book is narrated in first and 3rd person, you read from each sister’s perspective and how and when they come to the realization that they should join the plot to overthrow the government.

this singer is basically narrating the event of when the sisters were assassinated. 

imprisoned in jail
returning from Puerto Plata.
It was November night
Up in the mountains there.
For a road to the abyss
Tyrant of Death
three sisters followed.
Along with sweet-light-stream
with reeds and moss smell
(shadows, ghost, sleeplessness).
No light in the silence
they were sacrificed.
No help, no defense
three sisters fell
to get up then.
In an iron horse
traveled that night death.
The rider was the Tyrant.
Music, drum, flag!
No liberty dies!
Raised forever
m0rtires fell; HOMELAND

Brave:  “ you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug”. This part of the song signifies how by just speaking Minerva and her sisters gathered and caught people’s attention to go against the dictador thus ultimately forming an army of civilians willing to fight against Trujillo and his injustice, they used words to build a group of people, using them as a weapon.  
song ( this song basically talks about how although the dictator tried to tie their ‘wings’ meaning that they cut of their resources of communication and plotting against  the government by putting them in jail, they could not stop their flight to infinity leading to freedom meaning they were not able to cut off their hope and willing to fight for freedom , with their ‘wings’ their embraced their people with liberty.

Human: Christina Perri... in the book the sisters are potraid as these really strong women. As much as they try to be strong they are still human and they break over time, they still need help when they are vulnerable just like when they were in jail or when their family was in trouble they pleaded for help. 
The four of us had to ask permission for everything. […] Sometimes, watching the             rabbits in their pens, I’d think, I’m no different from you, poor things. One time, I             opened a cage to set a half grown doe free. I even gave her a slap to get her doing.  […] I mean in my head after I got to Inmaculada and met Sinita and saw what happened to Lina and realized that I’d just left a small cage to go into a bigger one, the size of our whole country. (11, 13)
This represents the struggle of Minerva, how she wants to become free and how she felt trapped.
By: Ileri Jaiyeoba and Judith Vega
Full transcript