Creative Writing

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez: Analysis Essay

In the Time of The Butterflies: Analysis Essay

In Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies, Minerva sheds her innocence as she discovers the veiled truth that Trujillo violently oppresses the people of her country. She sacrifices the safety of her former comfortable life to enter the dangerous realms of rebellion in the name of liberty. Throughout her journey in liberating her country, Minerva faces crushing losses, but she continues to devote her strength to the movement even at the cost of her life. Alvarez paints Minerva as an audacious and vibrant butterfly to explore how Minerva grows as a self-confident individual and as an independent woman through her stand for her beliefs. Therefore, through Minerva’s unwavering perseverance in fighting for her belief of freedom, Alvarez shows that despite the costs and setbacks, standing up for individual beliefs encourages people to initiate changes for a better world by protecting others from their limiting naivety and  earning them and future generations undeterred chances to achieve their dreams.

Analysis Essay: Minerva Mirabol in In The Time of The Butterflies

When Minerva openly dissents Trujillo’s unfair dictatorship and rallies people to stand up for their rights, Alvarez shows that it is important for people to protect and stand up for basic human rights, such as equality and freedom of speech, to overcome their limiting ignorance of injustice. After hearing Trujillo’s cruel orders to kill Sinita’s male family members, Minerva speaks out against Trujillo and his government despite the dangerous consequences. She publically stands up for her opinions of the cruel dictator to show others his corruption and to protect them by raising awareness in order to prevent the same devastating fates as Sinita has faced. Her older sister, Patria notices the “dangerous…way she was speaking out…Even in public, she’d throw a jab at our president…in her usual, thorough fashion…For days, I’d been feeling a heaviness inside me. And I admit it, Minerva’s talk had begun affecting me” (51-52). Patria observes that Minerva is “[dangerously]…speaking out,” but also notices that Minerva’s confidence is flourishing as she continues to voice her beliefs. Minerva voices her opinions so adamantly that Patria takes note that her talks appear as “her usual, thorough fashion,” or a natural part for Minerva to voice whatever she thinks of Trujillo. Patria purposefully describes Minerva’s spoken assertions as “usual” and “thorough,” words both with positive connotations, in order to emphasize this naturalness or common frequency of Minerva’s voicing of opinions. Minerva does not hold back on her comments about Trujillo’s tyranny, “[throwing] a jab at our president.” Unlike her family, Minerva is not fearful of her consequences and willingly sacrifices her life to reveal the truths about Trujillo’s devilish side. Minerva’s beginning stand for beliefs has also influenced others, such as Patria. Patria initially does not understand her little sister’s radical speaking, but she notes how effective Minerva is, “feeling a heaviness inside me.” The strong use of diction of “heaviness” reveals the effective impact Minerva’s influence has, thus indirectly showing her developing strength.  By being more aware of Trujillo’s and others’ actions, Patria is protected in being less naïve of Trujillo’s falsified good deeds and her surroundings. She uncloaks the veil that Trujillo is a heavenly good leader of her country, and unveils the unfair practices that Trujillo does in order to raise people’s awareness and to essentially protect them from their naivety.

Taking a leap of faith with Minerva Mirabal in the Time of the Butterflies: A theme of courage

Analysis: Courage Theme in In The Time Of the Butterflies

            Furthermore, by standing up to Trujillo for her wish to enter law school, Minerva earns herself a possible opportunity to do what she has yearned for in life.  Subsequently, she gains more courage in her character, equalizing her power to Trujillo’s power, and she understands the resulting bliss to have a chance to achieve her dreams by standing up. After conversing with Trujillo about the release of her prisoned father, Minerva internally debates with herself of whether she should risk asking Trujillo to study at the capital or not.  Despite knowing the disapproval of her mother and society’s outlook on females, Minerva “[decides] to speak up for what I do want…my dream of going to law school…I look down at the lopsided scales. For a moment, I imagine them evenly balanced, his will on one side, mine on the other” (114-115).  Her confidence from her previous bold stands in voicing her opinions on Trujillo allows her to gamble her life at stake for this chance to attend law school. If Minerva had not taken the chance “to speak up for what [she wants],” she would have lost the opportunity to achieve her life-long “dream of going to law school.” Winning the gamble to study law, Minerva feels encouraged of her boldness and sees “his will on one side, mine on the other” and that “the lopsided scales” are “evenly balanced.” Through the metaphor comparing the now leveled scale to Trujillo’s and her lives, Minerva shows her confidence that now she believes her strength or will “on the other” side of the balance has potential to “even” or equalize to the power of Trujillo. Minerva understands that Trujillo is currently overpowering, but by imagining “[the scale] evenly balanced,” she believes that after going to law school, her growing audacity and confidence will help her battle against Trujillo’s corruption to free her country, where Trujillo and she will both be at equal statuses in society or “evenly balanced.”

Theme of Family in The Time of the Butterflies

Analysis In The Time Of The Butterflies Themes, Family

Even losing Manolo, Minerva continues to fight with the underground movement for the pursuit of freedom because she believes through persistence, the end success of the movement will eventually be achieved and worthwhile compared to the beginning’s losses. At this time, the Mirabal sisters face distress as they watch Trujillo’s SIM police arrest their husbands. However, Minerva remains strong, responding that “ ‘Manolo had been arrested last night, too…Do you know if she saved any of the kids’ tennis shoes? I am not going to run scared’ before Dede could even begin convincing” (193). The ellipse after Minerva’s response about Manolo reveals the long pause of Minerva’s inner convoluted thoughts of despair. Her first response about Manolo indicates a sorrowful tone. However, Minerva immediately jumps into asking if “any of the kids’ tennis shoes” were saved, referring to the movement’s bomb supplies. At this moment, Minerva’s strength shines because even with a loss, Minerva continues to stand up for her beliefs of pursuing freedom. She places the progress of the movement before her own feelings and individual situation. Minerva’s adamant, strong tone is shown when she says she is “not going to run scared.” This second response demonstrates that her confidence has also now taken a forward step to the stage of selflessness. Even at this emotional low time, Minerva acts as an unselfish role-model for others in order to show that there is still hope for the movement’s progress. She understands that many citizens in the country wish for her same belief of freedom, but many are afraid to voice their opinions in fear of their deaths. If people do not speak out, their wishes will never be implemented in the country or change their suffering. Thus, by remaining to stand up for her beliefs in the time of losses, Minerva helps to further the liberation change with resolute courage that makes her an admiring and successful figure.

The Mirabal Sisters in the Time of The Butterflies

In The Time Of The Butterflies Conclusion: Essay…Freedom!

            From a sheltered, innocent larva to a bold, selfless butterfly, Minerva stands up for her beliefs of liberating her country against Dictator Trujillo to protect the people she loves and most of all liberty. Through her journey, overcoming adversities, Minerva matures as a character, ready to risk her life in the face of her ambition of freedom. Through Minerva, author Alvarez illustrates to her audience that standing up for individual beliefs, to be against conformity, rewards with the growth of confidence and an optimistic mindset. Compromising individual beliefs will mean the loss of initiating change of what one wishes for. The success of this stand outweighs the sacrifices, and it is this that has allowed Minerva to spread her wings and pursue her dream of liberation. ¡Viva la mariposa!  

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