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Ursini 1 Amanda Ursini Mr. Price AP English Literature, Period 6 2 March 2017 Three Magnificent Mariposas The popular idiom “[one] can never judge a book by its cover” is commonly used, as its implications are valid and thought-out. However, one can judge a novel solely on the contents of its first page. In th
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   Ursini 1 Amanda Ursini Mr. Price AP English Literature, Period 6 2 March 2017 Three Magnificent Mariposas The popular idiom “[one] can never judge a book by its cover” is commonly used, as its implications are valid and thought-out. However, one can judge a novel solely on the contents of its first page. In this particular circumstance,  In the Time of the Butterflies , written by Julia Alvarez, shows the reader much about the future contents of the book.  In the Time of the  Butterflies is technically fiction, however, insight is used from the actual characters and the incidents that happened in the novel truly occurred. The main characters, the Mirabal sisters, were Patria, Minerva, Dedé, and María Teresa. This novel is a fictional dramatization of their courageous lives. In the first page, it is evident that the themes are adversity, exasperation, and courage. One of the prominent themes that is indisputable is the reoccurring theme of adversity. The Mirabals, more specifically the butterflies, were up against challenges constantly. One example of the foreshadowing of this theme from the first page states, “Oh dear, another one.  Now after thirty-four years, the commemorations and interviews and presentations of  posthumous honors have almost stopped,so that for months at a time, Dedé is able to take up her own life again” (Alvarez 3). While this is not quite the same as the challenges faced by the  butterflies, it still presents the idea of obstacles that will never stop. For the sisters, it was the SIM watching over their every move, making sure that the Mirabals didn’t plot to overthrow the   Ursini 2 Dominican dictatorship. For Dedé, after the Dominican Republic’s liberation, her obstacles are  people constantly wanting to talk to her about her heroic, dead sisters. While the two situations are impossible to compare, the correlation is also impossible to deny. An instance later in the  book where difficulty is met is in chapter six, at Trujillo’s dinner party, where “Don Manuel is  pulling out chairs for everybody, but when i go to sit down next to Patria, he says 'No,no, el Jefe has invited you to his table.' Patria and Dede exchanged a scared look (Alvarez 94). Although Minerva’s hesitancy about El Jefe (Trujillo) has already been expressed, she is forced to dine and dance with him. She manages to get through it, without becoming one of his many forced-lovers. After the family leaves early, their father is arrested as a punishment, proving further that the Mirabals face countless hurdles. One last instance of adversity was in the face of their father;s death. At his funeral, his secret second family attended, inciting María to write “I feel like dying myself! I can't believe she came to the funeral mass with her girls, adding four more slaps to the  big blow (Alvarez 118). Dealing with the death of their father was already difficult, and then they had to see his other family. The sisters were constantly struck down by misfortune, yet managed to keep their heads above water, and even made a significant change in their country. Along with adversity, exasperation is a theme expressed in both the first page of the novel and many situations thereafter. With all that the Mirabal sister had to go through and how tired they were with the oppressive regime, exasperation is a prevalent theme throughout the novel. In the first page, it is expressed by Dedé, when she thought “But this is March, María Santísma! Doesn’t she have seven more months of anonymity?” (Alvarez 3). At this point, she is tired of the reporters and the  people who only take interest in her sisters, As the last living sister, she is one of the only   Ursini 3  primary sources, which she has grown to dislike. Irritation such as this is a theme throughout the novel. For example, after their father’s death, María states. “ I feel like dying myself! I can't  believe she came to the funeral mass with her girls, adding four more slaps to the big blow (Alvarez 118). This truly shows her facing obstacles as well as feeling exasperated. She is annoyed that her father’s family showed up at her funeral, and she is sad that her father passed. She felt nothing but resentment toward that family at the time, a side effect of her being tired of everything. One last instance of a theme of exasperation is when Patria decided to join the liberators, saying I'm not going to sit back and watch my babies die, Lord, even if that's what You in Your great wisdom decide (Alvarez 162). After being complacent and irritated for so long, she decided to take action. She channeled her malicious energy towards the thought of children dying and used to help liberate her country. This is the moment in the novel where Patria truly became who she was meant to be, all due to exasperation. In addition to exasperation, a compelling theme was that of courage. There is no doubt among anyone in the novel that the butterflies were lackluster in terms of courage. They took charge of their fate, and decided to attempt to better their country. An early example of courage comes from Dedé, quoting the gringa “The Mirabal sisters are not known there, for which she is also sorry for it is a crime that they should be forgotten, these unsung heroines of the underground…”(Alvarez 3). This statement shows the courage of the  butterflies, as they are referred to as “heroines”. The reporter believed that the sisters should be known everywhere, a true testament to their sacrifice and courage. Another instance that demonstrates the theme of courage occurs when Minerva stands up to Trujillo, who was known for permanently silencing those who didn’t agree with him, She said, in retaliation to him, “The   Ursini 4 game had gone too far. ‘I’m afraid that I’m not for conquest’” (Alvarez 99). By standing up to El Jefe, Minerva asserted that he could not do whatever he wanted to her, and that took a lot of courage, Jefe wasn’t known for being kind to those who denied him pleasure. However, Minerva stood her ground, and was able to safely leave. One last illustration of the theme of courage was shown when Patria told a bystander that she was going to be murdered. He described it as such: “I think it must have been Patria-broke from the captors and ran towards the truck. She clung to the doors, yelling ‘Tell the Mirabal family in Salcedo that the calías are going to kill us’” ( Alvarez 302). In their last moments, the butterflies remained brave. They always fought with everything that they had. Their courage was abounding and never ending, and they played a major role in ruining their country, even after their death. Throughout the first page and the remainder of  In the Time of the Butterflies , the themes of exasperation, courage, and adversity. The butterflies, Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa are now considered national heroes in the Dominican Republic. November 25, the anniversary of their death, it International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in honor of the Mirabal sisters. These women are excellent examples that show the bravery and strength of women. Without them, Trujillo would have undoubtedly have kept control for longer, leading to more deaths. Just by deciding to do what they felt right, the Mirabal sisters saved a country. They truly are and will continue to be an inspiration for people everywhere.
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