Information About the Mirabal Sisters “In the Time of Butterflies”

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez was a great book and an inspiration to any kind of age. To break the book down and to understand the book more Charlotte Rich wrote a literary criticism on the book called Talking back to El Jefe: polyphony, and dialogic resistance in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. This source argues how In the Time of the Butterflies correspond to the Russian philosopher’s discussions of dialogues of the novel, genetic characteristic, and different voices in the novel.

This source is useful because it gives another point of view to view the book while this source is invalid because some of what the author says is based on opinion. Some of the argument that were accurate from the criticism were that Trujillo was in favor and liked people who looked european, also how Maria Theresa and Anne Frank were alike by being optimistic during a time of oppression, and how Alvarez show the difference between each sister’s social class by multi language.

Some of the arguments that was misleading from the text was that Minerva was an inspiration for her sisters to join the movement.

In the text Talking back to El Jefe: polyphony, and dialogic resistance in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies states that Trujillo regime was based on his belief in white/European supremacy. In the book In the Time of the Butterflies it was said that Trujillo believed in people who were lighter had a dislike for Haitians.

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During Trujillo time in power he brought people to whiten the race and also he killed Haitians who tried to cross over to the Dominican Republic.

In the Time of the Butterflies states that ” Don Bernardo really was our next door angel disguised as an old spaniard with an ailing wife. He had come to the island under a refugee program Trujillo had instituted in the forties to whiten the race”(Alvarez 215). This gives the information why Don Bernardo was never questioned and why Trujillo was never an admire of the Mirabal sisters, because it was know that the Mirabal sisters were a darker complexion

In the text Maria Theresa in some ways connects to The Diary of Anne Frank because both of them were optimistic during a time of political oppression. In the literary criticism Rich believes that “in portions of the whose narrative form and themes recall the diary of Anne Frank, Maria Theresa optimistic voice speaks alongside her sisters, creating a polyphony that traces the experiment of political oppression form the varied perspective of those whom such tyranny usually silenced” (Rich6).

Maria Theresa and Anne Frank both had a diary to help them get a lot of things out of their mind also it gave them both time to analyze their life. When Anne Frank was stuck in the attic she had a diary where she wrote how she felt through those diary entry it showed how she was coming of age. While In the Time of The Butterflies Maria Theresa talked about liking boys to getting into things more serious like joining the revolution and having hope during the time she was in prison.

Maria Theresa said that “ Then everyone was beating calling out “viva la Mariposa tears came to my eyes. Something big and powerful spread wings inside me courage. I told myself and this time I felt it” (Alvarez 238). This shows that Maria Theresa during the time of political oppression still found hope and never gave up.

In the text the sisters social class was show by each sister telling their own chapter and expressing their priority. In the literary criticism Rich implies that “multi-language consciousness of the novelistic genre the Bakhtin described through its use of multiple narrators,

Alvarez novel likewise represents the world in stricter Bakhtin sense of “heteroglossia” through the language of different social classes”. Throughout the book each sister showed what they value the most which gave off their social class. Patria showed her social class by marrying at sixteen and putting her faith and her family first she said” build your house upon a rock, he said, do my will.

And though the rainfall and the floods come and the winds blow, the good wife’s house will stand. I did as He said. At sixteen I married Pedrito Gonzalez and we settled down for the rest of our lives” (Alvarez 148). Minerva was more of the political sister and the risk taker she stood of what she believed and was never quite about her opinions. She told Trujillo ” I mean I dream of going to law school.

I’ll tell you what. I’ll Let you toss for privilege. You win you get your wish I win I get mine I’ll toss” This showed that she was not scared of the outcome whenever she wants something she makes sure she is able to get it. Dede believed more in her family she lets her husband make all the decision while she follows with what he says. During Dede’s chapter she said “what? I should I go over Jammito head? It’s only fair He’s the one farming the land he’s responsible for this place” (Alvarez 177).

This shows that Dede did not go to school for that long and relied more on her husband to run the family. While Maria Theresa just followed what her sister did but she broke out of that bond and became independent she went to school and joined the movement with Minerva. During her diary Maria Theresa stood her ground and told her sister ” I wanted to join. I could feel my breath coming short with the excitement of it all. But I masked it in front of Minerva……….. I don’t want to be babied anymore. I want to be with Palomini.

Suddenly, all the boys I’ve know with soft hands and easy lives seem like the pretty dolls I’ve passed outgrown and passed to Minou” (Alvarez 142). Throughout the book it is clearly shown that Minerva was high in the social class by being involved a lot will Patria was below in social class by just having room for her family and God.

In the literary criticism Rich states “beside revealing her an inspiration for her sisters join the movement” This statement is false because while Minerva was an inspiration for Maria Theresa to join the movement Patria joined because she feared her loved ones were in danger and it will not be too long before Trujillo kills every of her family. Patria said “ I’m not going to sit back and watch my babies die Lord, even if that what you in your great wisdom decide”(Alvarez 162). When Patria saw a boy get killed in front of her face she thought that this could happen her own anytime.

In conclusion majority of what Rich said in her literary criticism were true while others were misleading. In the Time of the Butterflies was a great book because it gives information about the history of how the Mirabal sisters were so important and the literary criticism was valuable because it gives additional information about the time period of the event. Also it evaluates the work of Alvarez and gives connections beyond the book.

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Information About the Mirabal Sisters “In the Time of Butterflies”. (2023, May 05). Retrieved from

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