After the sisters find out about their husband’s prison transfers, Minerva says, “Not only was there nothing in the world we could do to save the men, there was nothing in the world we could do to save ourselves either” (Alvarez 283). Minerva knew her eventual fate but put the people of the Domincan Republic’s lives over her own. Just as Minerva is about to go up the mountain she would soon get murdered on she says, “I don’t know quite how to say this, but it was as if we were girls again. Walking through the dark part of the yard, a little afraid, a little excited by our fears, anticipating the lighted house just around the bend” (Alvarez 297). Minerva outlines in this quote that despite her massive evolution into a symbol of political rebellion, she still sometimes feels like she’s a child again.
As butterflies, even if they don’t live for very long, they represent coming across as delicate and pretty to look at but actually being incredibly strong and free. Minerva did face many of the main difficulties with law school, being the first sister to become active in the revolution and just by being as strong-minded as she was but all of the other sisters faced entrapment whether it was their relatives in jail or being a women that held them
These chapters are the ones in the point of view of Minerva and Patria. We know it is written in first person because it uses the word “I said” rather that “Minerva said”. Both of these characters are strong willed individuals and I think it shows throughout the book. Having these sisters’ stories in first person point of view really helps with being able to see how they viewed life and what was occurring around them. Having them telling their own stories helps us to connect better with them and come to love them even more.
According to Patria one of the three sisters involved in the movement, states that she and her other sisters were not willing to offer their family for the revolution until Minerva did “But Minerva, your own child- I began and then I saw it did hurt her to make this sacrifice she was convinced she needed to make” (Alvarez, 155). Patria’s compelling words show the determination of Minerva to end the sadistic presidency. Minerva doesn’t not want to give up her child but she does so for what she believes in. Such determination leads to worthiness of the sister’s sacrifices. Dede, the only sister who survived insists that she would have joined her sisters but she couldn’t because of her husband “Even so that night, her ears still ringing from Jaimito’s shout, Dedé had been ready to risk her life.
The Mirabal sisters showed heroism in the face of the Dominican Republic because of their resistance against Trujillo’s regime. First, it was Minerva with her friend, Sinita, and her family, then it was Mate joining the revolution because she figured out Minerva was in it and got interested. During a retreat Patria went to with her church, she witnessed the killing of a boy that looked like her son. Although she had previous knowledge of the revolution from Minerva and the news, she started getting more interested and joined. “ It happened on the last day of our retreat.
In the vignette, Minerva Writes Poems, Minerva is a teenager who has to take care of her two children and deals with her husband who constantly argues and leaves. Esperanza describes Minerva with pity, knowing that she is “only a little bit older than me [Esperanza]...Minerva cries because her luck is unlucky” ( Cisneros 84). Minerva’s young age is an important part of the statement, since she should be in school and not being a mother. Because of this, she may have dropped out to join in marriage for more income and lead herself to a dreadful future of beatings and a harsh lifestyle, which is taking care of multiple children as a young teenager and her husband’s insults. Minerva herself does not like living with her husband, as seen in the text.
This open rejection provides insight into Fermina’s value of independence, a value so ingrained that she refuses the concept that higher power guide her actions, or of others. However, she is made to transition into a domestic role. For the largest part of her youth, Fermina Daza longed for independence and rebelled against her father, and once again when married, “she felt herself losing her mind, as the mad woman [screaming] in the asylum next door” (207). Marquez metaphorically shows the way Fermina is unhappy in her house, but also the way she is controlled. As a result of male influence, her freedoms are being deprived and she is being forced into a domestic role she dislikes.
Because of their busy schedules, it was hard for them to spend a lot of time with their children and family, allowing them to become more distant with them, and eventually having them live with their aunt Dede’s house after they died. At first, when Minerva would have her son, Manolito, stay at her sister Patria’s house, Patria wouldn’t understand how she could leave her own child away from her for such a long time. She was going to ask why she was doing such a thing but then “[she] saw it did hurt her to make this sacrifice she was convinced she needed to make.” At first, Patria wonders why Minerva had to travel around for her activities if it meant having to distance herself from her son. She later realizes that Minerva doesn’t care, since participating in the revolution is what she believes in, and would affect the greater good. Imagine life if the Mirabal sisters decided to back out of the revolution because they were afraid it would affect the relationship between themselves and their family.
Julia Alvarez's historical novel, In The Time of the Butterflies, captures the lives of the Mirabal sisters and the Dominican Republic under the appalling dictatorship of Trujillo. Unfortunately, in a dangerous scheme to overthrow Trujillo, the Mirabal sisters meet their tragic fate. Before their death, these martyrs dodged through dozens of obstacles. In the Dominican Republic, it was extremely difficult for women to be respected and taken seriously because they were seen as domesticated and inferior. This old ideology of gender roles gravely affected the Mirabal sisters and their participation in their revolution against Trujillo; however, they still managed to challenge these gender limitations throughout the book.
Women’s struggle for power in a patriarchal society has been a monumental fight throughout the ages, and even now women around the world fight for the right to simple rights like an education, and voice within society. In Julia Alvarez's book In the Time of the Butterflies the character Minerva Mirabel portrays women’s fight for power through her own personal struggle for power in her home against her father, and in the Dominican Republic society against Trujillo, and patriarchal norms of the time. Minerva’s struggle for power in her family is displayed through her thoughts and actions concerning her father’s patriarchal rule of his household, and her going against what was assumed to be the way a daughter was supposed to behave. She doesn’t follow her father blindly, and trust him simply because of his authority, she treats him as someone equal to her.