In the Time of the Butterflies

Minerva's Struggle

Although this is an era when violence is frowned upon and war deplored, still the soldier has remained an esteemed figure. Even more appealing to the imagination are tales of tyrants and the courage of the underground guerillas that oppose them. Such almost mythic status has been conferred upon three sisters, nicknamed the Butterflies, who participated in the fight against the thirty-year dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. While heroic deeds take the spotlight, one may forget that even freedom fighters begin as children. That they learn as children and grow as humans, fallibly and inconstantly, is a fact remembered by Dominican novelist Julia Alvarez. In Alvarez's novel In the Time of the Butterflies, she uses several turning points in the life of Minerva Mirabal to define that character's growth as a human being rather than a hero.

Alvarez uses two turning points in Minerva's childhood to show her potential for the life ahead of her, yet emphasize her childish innocence. In the beginning of the novel, Alvarez introduces Minerva to the reader with Minerva's excitement that her Pap plans to send her away to school. School becomes Minerva's first victory and step towards her...

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