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Butterfly Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jnhagan
Words 1366
Pages 6
The Death of a Butterfly “Las Mariposas”, The Butterflies, is the codename given to the Mirabal sisters upon their emergence into the Dominican Revolution. While the name grew from Minerva’s underground name, it also took on a symbol of hope, change, and transformation behind the suppression of the Dominican people. Throughout the novel each sister represents a different stage of the butterfly life cycle: Dede as an Egg, Patria as a caterpillar, Maria as a Pupa, and Minerva as an adult; each respective stage symbolizes the different levels of courage and sacrifice devoted to their country’s freedom from tyrant Rafael Trujillo. Alvarez uses symbolism in “The Time of the Butterflies” to suggest that the price of freedom paid by the Mirabal Sisters was not worth the cost when butterflies have such short lives. Butterflies have grown to symbolize a variety of different meanings throughout history and culture. Their metamorphosis is typically construed as a representation of change, purity, and rebirth, while some cultures view butterflies as a depiction of the soul or a transition between lives. Dede takes on the “Egg” stage of the butterfly life cycle as her character faces many obstacles despite being the least involved sister. Like the egg, Dede remains planted firmly where she was laid. “A chill goes through her, for she feels it in her bones, 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 their story” (Alvarez 10). At the beginning of the novel, a sense of strong apprehension is introduced through Dede’s character to set the tone. It is clear that Dede realizes she is the most risk-averse of the sisters, but she also contradicts her sisters for their lack of responsibility. Dede has made herself available as a resource to be a mother, a teacher, and a leader to those left behind...

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