In the Time of the Butterflies

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Rafael Trujillo’s rule over the Dominican Republic is considered one of the bloodiest era’s in history. Responsible for the deaths of over 30,000 people, Trujillo became infamous for his tyrannical reign. The four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, along with friends and family, were activists in the revolution to overthrow Trujillo. Affected by his harsh dictatorship, changes in Maria Teresa’s character are evident in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. Although Maria Teresa’s cautiousness and sensitivity remain constant during the revolution of the Trujillo Era, her consideration for others weakens. Living in a dangerous era, Maria Teresa’s cautiousness further develops as Trujillo’s reign strengthens. Growing up, Maria Teresa is very cautious about her actions and people. After watching her sisters and mother struggle with their relationships with men, she grows cautious and careful of men. She admits in her diary on January 10th, 1954, “ I know I’m taking a very good look around before I close my eyes and fall in true love” (Alvarez 123). Afraid of being hurt, Maria Teresa refuses to devote herself to a man before she is certain that she will be free from danger. Later in her life, she applies this philosophy to the revolution and Trujillo. While in prison, she only writes in her diary at certain times to ensure her safety from the prison guards and SIM. She shares in her diary on April 2nd, 1960, “As a consequence, there have been extra guards patrolling the hall outside out cell, so I didn’t dare write until tonight” (Alvarez 237). Maria Teresa is not only concerned about her own safety, but she is careful not to act out upon Trujillo’s enforcers. She is fully aware that any mistake she ma... ... middle of paper ... ... Evidently, Maria Teresa is being selfish and failing to recognize her sister’s bold act in hoping to achieve freedom. Focusing on her own freedom and safety, Maria Teresa loses sight of the kind consideration that she developed in her childhood. Maria Teresa’s cautiousness and sensitivity remain consistent during the revolution, while her consideration for others changes. Maria Teresa is exceedingly careful throughout her life starting with her relationships with men, and carrying her into her revolutionary skills. Her emotional fragileness is responsible for her many breakdowns, both major and minor, during her life. When Maria Teresa becomes imprisoned, she loses sight of her consideration and focuses on getting herself home. Although her life was cut short due to a tyrannical leader, Maria Teresa Mirabal made her mark on history as a strong, beautiful butterfly.

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