Julia Alvarez: The Voice of the Mirabal Sisters Numerous accounts of families affected by oppressive dictatorships exist all around the world. Julia Alvarez, an author whose father was involved in a resistance group to such a regime, is a prime example of one of those stories. After leaving her childhood home of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez struggled to adapt her lifestyle to match that of an average American. During this time period, Alvarez recalled her experience under an authoritarian government and combined it with her impressive storytelling skills to create a fictional documentation of another family just like her’s.
It can be said without question that the Mirabal sisters made extreme sacrifices in the name of social justice. They gave up their time, their energy, their families, their safety, and finally, their lives. But did those sacrifices really make a difference? After all, they were killed before they could see Trujillo’s regime topple. And the sisters arguably did little to impact Trujillo’s reign and his assassination several months after their deaths.
The Mirabal sisters were revolutionaries who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. During the revolution, they were given the code name “Las Mariposas”, or “the butterflies”. The term “mariposa” suits each sister in a different way. Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and Mate Mirabal each have their one reason to be compared to a butterfly. The nickname “mariposa” shows who the Mirabal sisters are; they transformed from domestic, innocent mothers and wives into brave, defiant martyrs for national freedom.
From the start of the novel Dedé has been very noncontroversial. When her sisters are going to school she volunteers to stay home and help their father with the shop. Later on when her sisters encourage her to join in the movement against Trujillo Dedé’s husband, Jaimito, tells her she can not join. Following her husbands orders, “Dedé sent Patria a note: Sorry Jaimito says no.
The setting allows the reader to understand how people without honour are seen as outcasts of the society and the existence of a woman’s virginity is seen as a measure of her honour, as well as a precious commodity, which can purchase the family’s social advancement, through a marriage of convenience. Ángela states that Santiago deflowered her, but since “…she looked for it in the shadows…”, even though “She only took the time necessary to say the name.” we question this piece of information and its reliability, due to it being precise but also vague at the same time. Due to their sister stating this, Pablo and Pedro Vicario are ordered to reinstate their “…sister’s lost honour…”, ironically by their mother, to meet the expectations of the community and it is up to them to spiritually retrieve their sister’s virginity by killing Santiago. This means the brothers cannot back down from “…the horrible duty that’s fallen on them…” as “…there’s no way out of this…”.
Today, when one turns on the radio, Pandora, or any type music streaming company, we will most likely hear artists singing songs that do not sound like their ‘usual sound.’ Today they are known as crossover artists, and some of the most widely know to this day are Taylor Swift from country to pop, Enrique Iglesias and Gloria Estefan both coming from Latin fan bases to the American pop culture.
Alvarez and her family have a lot of trauma considering there lives in the dominican republic and living under the dictator,through it all alvarez's parents raised a daughter who would share their story in a fashionable matter that told the story how it was.
Lola takes advantage of her deteriorating mother whose illness represents the declining hold of the norms over Lola. Since her mom “will have trouble lifting her arms over her head for the rest of her life,” Lola is no longer afraid of the “hitting” and grabbing “by the throat” (415,419). As a child of a “Old World Dominican Mother” Lola must be surrounded by traditional values and beliefs that she does not want to claim, so “as soon as she became sick” Lola says, “I saw my chance and I’m not going to pretend or apologize; I saw my chance and I eventually took it” (416). When taking the opportunity to distinguish herself from the typical “Dominican daughter” or ‘Dominican slave,” she takes a cultural norm like long hair and decides to impulsively change it (416). Lola enjoyed the “feeling in [her] blood, the rattle” that she got when she told Karen to “cut my hair” (418).
Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World is a memoir by Catalina de Erauso detailing her experiences during the early 1600’s in South America and Spain. She was born in 1585 into a well off Basque family and her parents were native-born residents of San Sebastian Spain. This book is one of the earliest known autobiographies by a woman and details the events that took places when Catalina escaped a Basque convent dressed as a man. During this time she served as soldier in the Spanish army, traveling to Peru and Chile, and even becoming a gambler. Being that my major falls under sociology, I will be looking at themes surrounding the constraints of females in Spanish society in the 1600’s and how this affects Catalina.
For as long as people can remember, the stereotype that men have “more power” than women in a relationship has been a relevant argument. In the novel How the García Girls Lost Their Accents the Author, Julia Alvarez, writes about four girls and part of that revolves around their relationships with men. In all of their relationships with men, he has the power in the relationship which means he makes the decisions for them. When they lived in the United States the girls and their mother had more say in the society. When they lived in the Dominican Republic men just saw them as submissive housewives who bear their children. Women who are also known to have slept with other men are dishonored. Also as the girls get older the author shows them independent and successful, even with a man. Which shows that the Garcia girls aren’t just some ordinary family.
Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies is a work of historical fiction set in the Dominican Republic that focuses on the four Mirabal sisters who bond together to rebel against the corrupt leader of their country, Rafael Trujillo. The four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa form closer relationships with each other as they figure out a way to bring down the tyranny of Rafael Trujillo. Although they have a mutual goal, each of the Mirabal sisters has different feelings and thoughts throughout this time period. The theme of coming-of-age and identify is best exemplified through the character of María Teresa, known as Mate, through the ways she matures throughout the novel and becomes her own person who stands up for what she believes in.
The Mirabal sisters, also known as La Mariposas, have been known throughout the Dominican Republic for participating in a major revolution against their unjust ruler, Rafael Trujillo. After years of the sisters’ hard-work, along with the others who were involved in the revolution, their work paid off when Trujillo's regime ended with his assassination. However, in order for them to have taken part in this act against Trujillo, the Mirabal sisters had to sacrifice several things from their lives, most importantly, their freedom and their relationship with their family. Many people believe that these sacrifices were not necessary because the sisters didn’t need to go to the extent where the end result would be them orphaning their children. Nonetheless,
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.
Women in the novel defy gender roles by rising against unjust power and creating a revolution against the dictatorship that overpowered the Dominican Republic. Minerva Mirabal was the first of the sisters who wanted to make a difference, and defied power ever since she was a young lady. She was once invited to a dance sponsored by Trujillo. They were dancing together and he started touching her inappropriately. She tried to push him away at first, but when he continued to thrust his pelvis at her in a “vulgar way,” (100) she raised a hand and slapped him in the face.
In The Time Of Butterflies was written by Julia Alvarez. Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. She wrote In the time of Butterflies in 1994. The book divided into four sections, which make the sisters to have their own sections. The story took place in Dominican Republic during President Trujillo’s dictatorship government.