Analysis Of Julia Alvarez's In The Time Of The Butterflies

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Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies: The Neverending Story Memory is both a blessing and a curse; it serves as a reminder of everything, and its meaning is based upon interpretation. In Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies Dedé lives through the memory of her family and her past. She tells the stories of her and her sisters lives leading up to their deaths, and reflects upon those memories throughout her daily life. Dedé lives on for her sisters, without her sisters, but all along carrying them with her throughout her life, never moving on. Dedé lives with the shame, sadness, and regret of all that has happened to her sisters, her marriage, and her family. Dedé’s memories serve as a blessing in her eyes, but are a burden…show more content…
From the beginning of the novel, Dedé dreads having to talk to reporters and the like about the tragedy of the Mirabal sisters from the perspective of the sister who lives. She reveals to the reporter that she survives by only focusing on the good memories, and when she cannot do so she “get[s] stuck playing the same bad moment” (7). Fate forces Dedé to live either with her sisters in the past, or without them in the present, so she chooses to remember the good times. However, she cannot selectively remember only what she loves about her family’s past, and thus occasionally is caught in an unending bad memory. Dedé primarily speaks of the good times and what made each sister so unique, but later in the story she gets caught in the bad times. She speaks of her regret in not following in her sisters’ footsteps by asking herself “Why? Why didn’t she go along with her sisters. She could have started a new life” but goes on to remind herself that she “had been ready to risk her life” but not her marriage (177). She also justifies this reasoning earlier by stating “we women followed our husbands… I followed my husband” however her regret for not following her sisters comes back as she questions her actions from decades ago. Further, Dedé remembers her sisters attempt to guilt her into going along with them in their journeys when Minerva pleads “Come on Dedé. Think how sorry you’d…show more content…
At the beginning of the novel, Dedé recalls a semi-fond memory of her family all together in which her father is telling each of the girls their futures. She remembers her initial realization that “hers is the only future he really told... The future is now beginning. By the time it is over it will be the past, and she doesn’t want to be the only one left to tell the story” (10). Already, Dedé sees the future and wants no part of it, sending herself to the past where she feels more comfortable, but also carrying the burden of never allowing herself a future. She goes on to talk about, no matter what happens, she will be the one left behind, her past parallel to her sisters’ in stating “whether she joined them or not, her fate was bound up with the fates of her sisters. She would suffer what they suffered. If they died, she would not want to go on living without them” (193). Again, Dedé states that life without her sisters is not a life worth living, further revealing her depressive nature. This also gives background to why she lives in the past through her memories; if she is with them she can survive. Dedé reveals that life without her sisters, the life that she has now, is not a life she wants or thinks she can survive, so she lives in a convoluted world of past and present that allow her to never have to live without them. Dedé, however, is not
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