Julia Alvarez

In the Time of the Butterflies

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  • Features 12 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
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In the Time of the Butterflies Important Quotes

1. “‘It’s about time we women had a voice in running our country.’” (Chapter 1, p. 10)

This quote works as a premonition of Minerva’s role in politics when she and her sisters join the revolution against Trujillo. It shows that women are questioning the patriarchal society that does not allow them to have a voice.

2. “‘You and Trujillo,’ Papá says a little loudly, and in this clear peaceful night they all fall silent.” (Chapter 1, p. 10)

Even in the relative calm of their own house, the Mirabal family knows just how far Trujillo’s reach extends. Even saying his name casually can result in trouble for the family, and shows the extent of Trujillo’s police state in the Dominican Republic.

3. “‘Sometimes, watching the rabbits in their pens, I’d think, I’m no different from you, poor things.’” (Chapter 2, p. 11)

Minerva identifies with her family’s caged rabbits as her freedom is curtailed by her father. She must ask him for everything, and longs to be free to go wherever she chooses.

4. “‘And that’s how I got free … and realized that I’d just left a small cage to go into a bigger one, the size of our whole country.’” (Chapter 2, p. 13)

Minerva astutely realizes that her freedom is not only limited at home, but that Dominicans as a whole are imprisoned by Trujillo’s repressive regime.

5. “When we got to school that fall, we were issued new history textbooks with a picture of you-know-who embossed on the cover so even a blind person could tell who the lies were about. Our history now followed the plot of the Bible.” (Chapter 2, p. 24)

This quote shows how Trujillo actually rewrote history to show himself as the bringer of Dominican salvation. The new history books make it appear as if Dominicans have been waiting for Trujillo to arrive since the dawn of time. Though completely inaccurate, no one dares to speak out against this fallacy.

6. “‘I see the picture of our president with eyes that follow me around the room, and I am thinking he is trying to catch me doing something wrong….

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