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Feminism In The Time Of The Butterflies

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Throughout history, women have made a name for themselves. By rising up and fighting for something that they believed in, the Mirabal sisters made a name for themselves in the Dominican Republic and in Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies. By applying a theory to a novel, readers can relate the book to the world they are living in today (Davidson). Feminism can be defined as a dynamic philosophy and social movement that advocates for human rights and gender equality (“Feminism”). Feminist Theory involves looking at how women in novels are portrayed, how female characters are reinforcing stereotypes or undermining them, and the challenges that female characters face (Davidson). Feminist Theory can be applied to In the Time of…show more content…
The female characters are portrayed as independent, strong willed women that are full of determination to fulfill their dreams, who also defy stereotypes. Minerva is portrayed as a strong woman when she fulfills her dream of getting a form of higher education, which also goes against social norms in the Dominican Republic. She says, “I want to go to the university[...]I’ve always wanted to study law” (Alvarez 98). By attending the university, Minerva is completing her dream and going against female stereotypes. Another example of women being strong willed in the novel is when the Mirabal sisters fight and die for a cause they believed in. Dedé says, “They killed them good and dead[...]they put the dead girls in the back of the Jeep, Rufino in the front” (Alvarez 303). By becoming martyrs for the Dominican Republic Revolution, the Mirabal sisters show how strong they truly were by fighting for a cause that they believed in. They defeated social norms by becoming independent fighters for a cause they believed in instead of being shy and staying in the house. Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo, an African American newspaper journalist, wrote an article about a woman in Liberia who is breaking gender barriers. Christine Tokpa was tired of sitting at home and taking care of the children so she decided to become a mechanic in Liberia. In Liberia, “the mechanic field is dominantly a male job” (“Women Breaking Barriers”). Christine, just like the female characters in the novel, overcame gender barriers and stereotypes and became a strong and independent woman who fought for what she
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