The Butterflies By Julia Alvarez: A Literary Analysis

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War is generally characterized by individuals violently uprooted, international and domestic tension, unfortunate mortality, and militaristic weaponry. Although many scholars have identified war as a universal trait of human nature, others have argued that it is the result of socio-economic, religious, political, and other differences. Frequently, the marginalized voices of civilians and soldiers in war are overlooked, due to the large media attention given to the destructive battles that occur. The chaotic scene of war often leaves psychological scars and post-traumatic stress on civilians and military personnel, thus yielding the question: while a country may have won its battle as a nation, have the people won their own, personal battles? …show more content…
Although women in the Dominican Republic are confined to the gender norms of their community, such as being a housewife, Minerva steps outside of these social conventions, in hope to create a democratic nation for the citizens. She opens her eyes up to the injustice in the country at an early age, even telling her mother, “It’s about time we women had a voice in running our country” (Alvarez 10). Alvarez foreshadows this underlying theme of feminism and the complex idea of gender stereotypes through the fictional voice of Minerva. Although Minerva is challenges traditional social constructs, she bases her rebellion on moral principles and liberal ideas. Her left-wing perspective of government and daily life shows readers that she yearns for social justice in every decision that is made. Throughout the novel, Trujillo learns more about Minerva’s persistence and passion and is initially startled by how vocal she is for a woman. When she verbalizes her quest to study law to Trujillo, he replies back, “The university is no place for a woman these days” (Alvarez 99). Trujillo’s response not only increases Minerva’s animosity for his dictatorship, but it provokes her to inspire others in effort to be involved with an political revolution group. In a 2010 TED talk titled “Women, wartime, and the dream of peace,” …show more content…
While O’Brien’s story focused on the how the war theater can transform a man, Alvarez elaborated on the intricacies of gender norms and their presence during a national crisis. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien reflects upon the trauma and emotional stress one experiences during combat and how it changes their lifestyle back home. Readers can understand the real emotional challenges soldiers encounter during war, based on O’Brien’s characterization. Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies shows the fortitude a woman must have when rebelling against a dictatorship, especially in a society that endorses gender norms. Alvarez’s and O’Brien’s novels essentially show readers how their characters deal with the emotional challenges they are undergoing as a result of the political injustice or having to live in the combat

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