In the Time of the Butterflies Study Guide

Where is the dominican Republic located graphically?
Where is the dominican Republic located graphically?
Near Cuba

What country share’s the D.R. landmass?

Where is the DR in relation to America?

Why does Julia Alvarez write the novel?
Her father was part of the underground, the same one the sisters were a part of, but he fled when the plot was discovered by the SIM. Four months after the escape to NYC, three sisters were killed on a mountain road. She was born in the DR

What is Julia Alvarez’s connection to the sisters?
Her father was part of the same underground

When did Trujillo reign?

How did Trujillo control the citizens of the Dominican Republic?
With fear. SIM would spy and see if you were doing something wrong. greed, control, and brutality

Everything is shared and equal among state, property, and money. There are no social classes

Power given to the people who rule directly or through freely elected representatives

A system where a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than the government (large difference in social classes)

undemocratic rule by one person with total power over a country, typically by force

What type of government does the DR have during the time of this novel?

Returning to an earlier time in a story for the purpose of making something in the present more clear

What do flashbacks clear up?
Understanding conflicts, characters motivation, characterization, relationships, plot

Historical fiction
Stories set in the past/ during a specific period of time that seek to recreate the aura of a time past, reconstructing characters, events, movements, ways of life, the time period, and its portrayal is at the core of the story

What is style?
How the author uses words, phrases, and sentences to form his or her ideas

Style (2nd definition)
The qualities and characteristics that distinguish one writers work from the work of others

What are characteristics of Alvarez’s style?
Breaking up chapters, frequent flashbacks and skipping around times, incorporating spanish words

How is Dede’s garden symbolic?
Her connection to her sisters and the memories she keeps of them and how she keeps them alive.

How is Dede characterized in chapter 1?
She has done many interviews, so she expects questions before she hears them. She seems nervous and uncomfortable with interviews in general and she tries to ignore them. She is guilty (survivors guilt). She is hardworking and good at math, predicted to be a billionaire by Papa.

What are some of Dede’s key conflicts shown in chapter 1?
She does not like interviews and tries to ignore them. She is tasked with being the only one alive to pass on her sister’s story

How does Minerva come of age?
She goes to Immaculada Concepcion with Dede and Patria. She meets Sinita and fights for all to have the right to choose beds. Then, she hears of what Trujillo has done from Sinita to her brother, uncles, and dad. This is when her complications begin.

Who is Sinita?
A girl at Immaculada Concepcion who lost her brother, father, and uncles to Trujillo because they used to be his friends, but then turned on him

How is Sinita characterized?
“A charity case” because she is very poor (she wasn’t before), she was trying not to cry the first day, shy but opened up to Minerva, small, young girl only about 12

Why is Sinita important?
She tells Minerva of what Trujillo has done to her family, allowing her to realize that he is not good

How do the bunnies in the cage work figuratively?
The bunnies symbolize how Minerva feels as a child, trapped because he father is protective. Then, how she feels later trapped in the cage that is Trujillo’s rule. The entire country can be represented by bunnies in the cage that is their country

How does the writing style and construction of chapter 3 impact characterization?
The diary style allows for a deeper characterization of mate because we see her childish thoughts and how she concerns herself with little things. We see deeper characterization from all characters as we see the sisters how Mate, another one of their sisters, would see them.

How does the writing style and construction of chapter 3 impact the plot?
The plot occurs in a dairy format. All of the information in between the entries is not included, or just briefly. There is more foreshadowing and fewer flashbacks

What is the figurative use of religious images in chapter 4?
Pearl of great price- Patria’s faith
,Crucifix above bed- guidance, washing of the feet on holy Thursday- deciding not to become a nun

How does Mate come to see Trujillo as bad?
Through Minerva sneaking out, she asks her what she is doing and Minerva says she wants Mate to live in a free country

How does patria see Trujillo as bad?
Losing her child allowed her to realize

How does Minerva see Trujillo as bad?
Sinita’s story

When did the Mirabals die?
November 25, 1960

What are the girls symbols of?
Courage, dignity, and strength

What is rain symbolic of?
1. Upcoming conflict
2. Luck on wedding day
3. The power of the revolution growing stronger
4. Trujillo growing stronger

What makes Patria lose faith?
When she loses the baby

When does Patria regain her faith?
Higuey pilgrimage- regains in church community

Why does Dede burn Lio’s letter to Minerva?
Jealous and wants her to stay and not go with Lio and run away

How are Dede and Minou similar?
Minou wants independence from the sister’s stories and being thought of as a hero. Dede is similar and is tired of the interviews

How is the symbol or rain developed in chapter 6?
1. Something bad coming
2. Trujillo in complete control of everything

How are papa and Trujillo alike?
Both disrespect women and go with gender norms. Both have lost Minerva’s respect

What is symbolic of Mate’s dreams?
Her distrust to men because of her father cheating

Why does Mate join the revolution?
She does not want to be babied and wants to be worthy of Leandro.

Explain Patria’s relationship with Mary
Patria lost her child (the baby that died) as Mary lost hers (Jesus was crucified)

How is Patria’s house symbolic?
Meeting site and foundation of the army of our lord. She built house on solid rocks that is getting cracks which is the revolution getting to her. Symbolizes loss of innocence

What is the fourteenth of June movement?
The day that Patria was on retreat in the mountains and DR citizens tried to rebel and it was shot down by Trujillo’s men. It was the day that the movement between the sisters was named to take down Trujillo.

Why does Patria join the movement?
She sees the boy get shot that looks like Nelson and she wants a better future for her child

Why doesn’t Dedé join her sisters in the revolution?
Her husband Jaimito is controlling over her and will not let her join

What is Dedé’s revolution?
Standing up to her husband to get some of the rights that have been taken away from her

How is the symbol of the garden developed in chapter 9?
Her relationship with Jaimito and the changes in her life. She works on it when she is lonely. Lately she has not been the same because her relationship with Jaimito is not as strong and she is cut off from her sisters. It also symbolizes her involvement in the revolution. It is all neat and tidy when her sisters visit, like her reputation up to this point. Then, there is a new bed where the soil is torn up. This is the possibility of something new- her involvement in the revolution. She goes to work on it and sees she has not planted any seeds, as she realizes that she is not meant to be involved in the revolution

How are images of light and dark used in the chapter?
The flowers are dark and lack color, so they smell stronger. The traveler hurries home when night begins to fall (poem). They turn off the porch lights because it is easier to address problems in the dark. Dede looks at the nights that are dark but she wishes she was a star

What are the names of Dede’s children?
Enrique, Rafael, David

How is Patria compared to Jesus?
She repeats “and on the third day he rose again” and compares herself to Jesus and his suffering. On the third day, the SIM came for Mate. She mentions something about a crown of thorns

What is prison like for the girls?
Mate feels as if she is less than human because of prison. They still go to school, showing how they value education. They receive packages from the ones not in prison and they share it among the prisoners

Who is the guard that is nice to the girls?

What happens to Mate in prison?
She is taken into a room with Leandro and she is electrocuted in order to get information out of Leandro

How does Mate lose her child?
She is electrocuted in La 40

Why don’t the girls accept the pardons?
They do not want to admit they have something to be pardoned for. Mate wanted to accept it, but Minerva didn’t

How is the prison cell communistic?
Everything is shared- the window time, privacy, the bucket, and the contents of the packages. Even the paper from mate’s diary

What comment does Alvarez make about Communism?

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