In The Time of Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez

3040 Words13 Pages
The Dominican Republic in the twentieth century can be summarized as brutal. The novel In The Time of Butterflies, written by Julia Alvarez was set during the time period 1938 to 1994. During part of that time dictator Rafael Trujillo ruled the island. Although this book is considered historical fiction, it tells the story of four Mirabal sisters: Dede, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. They called themselves “Las Mariposas”. The four Mirabal sisters exist in real life. In the book as well as in real life, the sisters are seen as a symbol of courage and strength to the people in the Dominican Republic. They were a part of an underground movement to overthrow Trujillo. The Mirabal sisters are famous for being political dissidents of Trujillo's dictatorship. Trujillo, known as El Jefe, or the boss led a terrible regime.

“The Dominican Republic had Rafael Trujillo, a capricious psychopath, who established perhaps the most effective authoritarian state ever seen in the western hemisphere – one usually defined as right-wing, though more accurately it had no ideology” (Tunzelmann 5).

He embarrassed many people by some of his rules. This is supported by German Ornes and what he wrote in his book Trujillo: Little Caesar of the Caribbean. He states that “Abasement is so thoroughly practiced that when Trujillo appears in public each citizen must remove his hat, place it over his heart, and bow his head” (Ornes, 4). Trujillo enjoyed humiliating others for his enjoyment. Some of his rules were crazy. For instance, “Heavy fines imposed on those who smoke while riding in a car... it is a punishable offense to wear khaki trousers and shirts of the

Rivera 2

same color and it is against the law to carry your coat over y...

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Ornes, German E. Trujillo: Little Caesar of the Caribbean. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1958. Print.

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