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In the Time of the Butterflies (Audio CD)
In the Time of the Butterflies - Audio CD Author:Julia Alvarez Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies is a novel that has substance to support numerous themes. The novel can be used to address themes about loyalty, death and loss, Marxism, and political domination are examples; however, the most overreaching theme in the novel is the empowerment of women and the woman’s role in society. ... more »Empowerment of women and women roles is a broad theme that has many different components that feed into it. Some of the components of the empowerment of women are the loyalty among women and how their gender affects their roles and perceptions in society.
In the Time of Butterflies is about four sisters who set out to change the world in which they live in. Their home country is being dominated by a dictator, who to everyone around them is a wonderful man and needs to be worshiped and respected. The four sisters see the truth about the dictator and are determined, with other supports, to start a revolution and take down the dictator. In this society, the countrymen do not question the dictator’s actions and if they do they are put to death. As the sisters each begin to see the cruel and inappropriate acts that this dictator is supporting, they join the revolution and their bond as sisters is strengthen to a bond of supporters.
The four sisters have a strong family bond and have created close relationships among them. Each sister watches out for the other and will support the sister in what ever she needs. The ultimate act of loyalty comes from Dede Mirabal the sister that survived; she took in all three of her sisters’ children and raised them as her own, along with her own children. The sisters’ loyalty to one another is shown early on in the novel when the youngest sister, Maria Teresa, lies to her principal to help cover up the truth of her older sister’s, Minerva, truancy to school. This act may be small but it is one of the first instances where the reader can see the strength of these women and their loyalty to one another. The women have strong loyalty not only to each other and their families, but a loyalty to their country and government. Their loyalty to the government begins with a respect for the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Trujillo, but once they each learn of the underground activities of this dictator they then have a loyalty to their revolution. These four sisters are women honored as the catalyst that brought the end of the Trujillo regime. Three of them lost their lives for their cause, which shows the depth of their loyalty.
In the society in which this novel is written, women were not to be radical. The four sisters’ father wants them to grow up and become housewives and raise the children. He does not support Minerva’s going to law school and marrying later in life. This suppression of women is also demonstrated by the Trujillo himself. He uses women to his personal advantage and makes sexual advance toward women, including one of the Mirabal sisters. He wants his outward appearance to be that he respects women so he tries to treat them fairly and pardons more women from their arrests than he does men. The four Mirabal women do all marry and have children as their father wished, but they played a key part in the revolution. They represented all the women in the country that were being treated unjustly by Trujillo. The sisters fought for a free and just country. The date of the murder of the three sisters, November 25, became International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women in honor of their effort as political radicals in the Dominican Republic. By the naming of the date of their death a national day to help women who are being treated badly shows the empowerment of these four sisters. The three sisters’ murder helped lead to the end of the Trujillo dictatorship. Their murder outraged the country and Trujillo was assassinated months later.
The story of the Mirabal sisters is a story about empowering women; the novel shows women that if they take their world in to their own hands they can make change. The Mirabal sisters are honored today in the Dominican Republic by the Dede, the surviving sister who spends her time telling the story of the three sisters and the change they brought to the country.« less