Essay on “In the Time of the Butterflies” Paper
Her Everlasting Faith Death is a word associated with loss, grief and sadness, but in the novel In the Time of the Butterflies we see death in a whole new perspective; martyrdom. Strong, independent, caring, honest, and having firm beliefs are all characteristics we see in a martyr especially in Patria. In the novel we explore the wonders of Julia Alvarez’s writing and get to witness Patria as a martyr and an individual who fought for the right of women against a dictator: Trujillo.
As an individual, Patria’s personality can e best characterized as someone who firmly sticks to their beliefs and has faith in everything and everyone. Patria’s drive to become someone notable after dealing with misfortune after misfortune makes Patria the strongest sister to die in In the Time of the Butterflies. Patria’s personality can be better explained through this quote; “From the [beginning] I felt it snug in my heart, the pearl of great price. No one had to tell me to believe in god or to love everything that lives I did automatically like a shoot inching its way towards the light” (Alvarez 44).
Patria’s faith and belief in verything that [lives] makes her come off as being naive and blinded by her faith; because she believes god can do no wrong in the world along with Trujillo. Patria’s caring nature for the people surrounding her shows a great deal of strength and confidence within herself, but even when she was born Patria “lowered her arms the way you fold in a captive birds wings so it doesn’t hurt itself trying to fly’ (Alvarez 44). This particular quote shows that [anyone] can have all the confidence in the world, but it’s what you do with that confidence that makes a difference.
In this case when Patria lowers her arms back down (Alvarez 44) she is showing wavers in her strength; in spite of this protective move, Patria is still a strong person; Patria wouldn’t be the person she is without the strength she had to keep building up following devastating tragedies. Even though Patria has a strong belief in god and Trujillo her faith is sometimes tested, because of others experiences with god and Trujillo. “The moment I understood her hatred, my family had not been personally hurt by Trujillo Just as before losing my baby. Jesus had not taken anything away from me.
There was the Perozos, not a man left in that family and Martinez Reyna and his wife murdered in their bed and thousands of Haitians murdered at the border. Making the river they say still red. I had heard but not believed. How could our all loving father let us suffer? I looked up challenging him and the two faces merged” (Alvarez 53). Patria is exposed to the truth that Trujillo was not the god-like entity she perceived him to be. In Patria’s mind there is no separation between god and Trujillo; they are one. Patria is finally coming face to face with the problems within the Dominican Republic.
This revelation foreshadows how Patria will become involved with the regime and what part she might play. An ordinary person can be considered a martyr, but Patria Mirabal is anything, but an ordinary person. She is a fghter who is willing to risk anything and everything to make even the smallest of difference in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. , Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi are all symbols of what a martyr is; someone who dies for a Patria is the ultimate martyr, because of whom she is as a person and in which the way she died. Coming down the mountain I was a changed woman. I may have worn the same sweet face, but now I was crying not Just my child but that dead boy as well. My stillborn of thirteen years ago, my murdered son of a few hours ago I cried all the way down that mountain. I looked out the spider-webbed window of that bullet- riddled car at brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, one and all, my human family. Then I tried looking up at our Father, but I couldn’t see His Face for the dark smoke hiding the tops of those mountains. I made myself pray so I wouldn’t cry.
But my prayers sounded more like I was trying to pick a fght. I’m not going to sit back and watch my babies die, Lord, even if that’s what you in your great wisdom decides” (Alvarez 162). Witnessing a death to such a young child can change a person in many ways and when Patria watches the young boy get shot down, something inside her is triggered. Faith is a key factor in this novel and comes into play when Patria realizes that she’s “Not going to sit back and watch my [babies] die, lord even if that’s what you and your great wisdom decides” (Alvarez 162).
Patria is willing to go against everything she elieves is right to protect the people of the Dominican Republic, because there is no greater family then the one youVe suffered with and thrived with. Patria is fghting with every ounce of strength she has to make right what Trujillo has failed to do as their Dictator. “The minute I walked into that room, I knew something had changed in the way the lord Jesus would be among us. No longer was there the liturgical chatter of how San Zenon had made the day sunny for a granddaughters wedding or how Santa Lucia had cured the cow’s pink-eye.
That room was silent with the fury of venging angels sharpening their radiance before they strike” (Alvarez 163). Entering the room Patria is almost hesitant, she wants to do what’s right for herself and the society, but once she Joins the regime her [faith] will seem even to her non-existent. Patria is in disbelief at what is unraveling before her. “l couldn’t believe this was the same Padre de Jesus who several months back hadn’t known his faith from his fear! But then again, here in that little room was the same Patria Mercedes who wouldn’t have hurt a butterfly, shouting, ‘Amen to the revolution. (Alvarez 163-164). People can change for the better or for the worse; Patria realizes this as she watches angry men and women ready to fght even at the cost of death. She finally understands that the people that where silenced by fear had endured enough, and what shocks her even more isn’t the fact that they are going against their once beloved god, it’s that here she was saying “Amen to the revolution” (Alvarez 164) standing before her sisters proud to say she is a part of something that can make the Dominican Republic a better place for her [family].
This is Patria’s martyrdom to leave this world the way he had entered with; pride, strength, confidence, and faith not Just in god anymore, faith within herself that she made a change in the Dominican Republic. People may mourn the loss of a woman of Patria’s caliber, but her death meant something not just to her family to the world and who can ask for a better reward than that? An ordinary person can be defined as a martyr, but it depends on what your definition of a martyr is. Strong, independent, caring, honest, and having firm beliefs are all characteristics we see in a martyr especially in Patria.
A martyr usually has strong aith in beliefs and people. Faith can be defined as having complete trust or religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Early In The Time Of The Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, we witness Patria’s unwavering faith and belief that Trujillo and God are fully trusted and their power in her life is unquestioned, however as the story progresses, the faith Patria has in both Trujillo and God falters. Since the level of faith Patria has wavers and loses strength throughout the story, can we say that Patria’s faith is really everlasting?
Yes we can say that faith is everlasting, ut we can also say that everlasting faith does not necessarily mean it is a strong faith, it can be weaker. Also in In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, the blind trust Patria placed in God and Trujillo was doubted because she had more evidence that they should not be trusted without question; again does this mean that Patria no longer trusts these two powerful beings? No this Just means that her trust had diminished. Strong faith and trust in powerful entities can be everlasting, however the strength does not have to be strong or weak it Just has to be present.