, Research Paper
September 12, 2000
The main point of Julia Alvarez?s ?In the Time of the Butterflies? is to show individual personality in each character. This book shows that the people involved in the revolution led personal lives and had feelings just like those of us who read about them. By telling about the characters? families and personal issues, Alvarez draws her readers into the book and makes them feel for each character.
Something that puzzled me was why the Mirabal sisters refused to leave prison. Minerva said that they had to set a good example and that accepting a pardon would mean that they thought they had something to be pardoned for. It seems to me that Minerva had too much pride. They should have accepted the pardon for the sake of their children and their mother. Did they really want their children to grow up without them? I see that they were trying to prove a point, but it also seems that they were working against themselves at the same time. They could not further the revolution while they were sitting in jail.
I also wondered why Trujillo all of the sudden started killing people left and right. I concluded that he was desperate because he knew he was not going to have that much power for very long. He knew he was in trouble because the OAS Peace Committee came so he figured he might as well kill people while he still can.
I don?t understand why Mate did not tell the OAS Peace Committee what happened at La 40. She said she did not want to endanger Santiclo. That is understandable, but it seems that there was a very slim possibility that he would get in trouble. She should have been thinking of her own good as well as her fellow prisoners?.
It was interesting how much the Mirabal sisters? true personalities came out while they were in prison. Mate was weak. She had a lot of breakdowns and relied on Minerva for support. Minerva always had to be the strong one, but even she had a weak side. That began to show during their last weeks in prison. She admitted to herself that she didn?t feel the same anymore.
The Mirabal family all looked out for each other. They supported and helped one another. Minerva comforted Mate when they were in prison. Patria took care of her sisters? children. Dede says at the end of the book that she, too, cares about her family so deeply that she forgets about herself. She admits this by saying, ?And I see them all there in my memory, as still as statues, Mama and Papa, and Minerva and Mate and Patria, and I?m thinking something is missing now. And I count them all twice before I realize—it?s me, Dede, it?s me, the one who survived to tell the story? (page 321).
Alvarez wrote this book because she lived in the Dominican Republic when she
was younger and probably went through some similar issues as the ones the Mirabals
faced. Her father was involved in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Trujillo
dictatorship so their family had to immigrate to the United States. Writing this book
came naturally for her because it may help her sort out her thoughts and understand
the whole situation more clearly.