In the Time of the Butterflies Essay

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In the following essay, Martinez describes Alvarez's book as a "fictionalized biography that moves its characters forward in the shadow of impending doom" as they "become involved in the underground movement against dictator Rafael Leomdas Trujillo."

November 25th is observed as International Day Against Violence Toward Women in many Latin American countries. That was the day in 1960 when three young sisters who had been fighting to overthrow a brutal dictatorship in the Dominican Republic were assassinated. Known as the butterflies (originally their underground code name), the Mirabal sisters became beloved national heroines. They and their era are the subject of Julia Alvarez's devastating, inspiring book.

Good novels with political themes are a rare treat. Here we have not one but two: along with Butterflies comes Mother-Tongue by Chicana poet Demetria Martinez, winner of the 1994 Western States Book Award for Fiction. Her story of a young Chicana who falls...

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This section contains 1,388 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Time of the Butterflies Study Guide
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