In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

I just found this reading diary entry written by my friend Darren on In the Time of the Butterflies by Alvarez. It had the same shattering effect on me too. If you haven't read it, read it now, and while you're at it, read her other books, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Yo!, and In the Name of Salomé. Alvarez is one of the few fiction authors I try to keep up with; when she comes out with a new novel, I buy the hardcover and read it immediately.


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i loved that book, too. i haven't read any of her other works. which would you recommend first?


What a hard question! Probabl

What a hard question! Probably Garcia Girls; it was her first book, and it put her on the map. They're all good, though, so if I were you, I'd just go to Amazon and look at the plot premises and see which one sounds best to you.


To answer to one of my questions or other comments, use the 'reply to' at the bottom of the note.
Question 1) Who is the strongest sister and why?


What are some questions of fact that you may have at this time?

ALSO: did you like this book? Why or why not?

Question - Elliot

What exactly is the government doing to these people, I am confused.

I like this book

I like this book because it's full of culture. I'm writing an autobiography of my culture and it's given me some good ideas. Besides that, the author writes practically, and the book never gets dull. But it's so long, sometimes it's easy to give up reading.

strongest sister

The strongest sister of the four is Minerva. She has set goals for herself and has the motivation to see them through. She is very independent and will fight for her beliefs.

veronica brandt

the government is trying to control the people and invade their personal lives. they are making the citizens feel like they are almost slaves in their own country. they have gone too far with the idea of power

strongest character

i would say that Minerva is the strongest character, she always stands up for her self and her friends such as her buddy Sinita


i think could minerva could take maria teresa

Strongest sister

I think that Patria is the strongest sister because she goes against everything that she was raised to believe in to help protect her freedom. She struggled through a miscarrage and raising two of her own children along with one of her sisters kids. Patria seems to be the foundation of the Mirabal family. She holds everyone together and works and fights to protect her country's freedom.

Government's detriment

Basically the government, (Trujillo) is taking complete control of the country. Minerva's friend in the convent, Sinita, explained that her father, uncle and brother have been killed by the government for speaking out. So it's sedition over the people, plus Trujillo is looking for complete worship from these people. Plus, no one can leave the country.

veronica brandt

it is like the government sees the people as their children and they are trying to disipline them

Mr. elliott

I like the book because it is quite interesting and it brings out my feminine side.


The government is a dictatorship. The government has total control of the people. They tell what each person can do, where they can go, what they can eat, what they can read, etc.. The government rules every aspect of its citizen's life.

I don't know if they are tryi

I don't know if they are trying to discipline them, rather they want to control their every action.

What is the author trying to

What is the author trying to tell us through this particular book...


Trujillo (the president) has become obsessed with having power and feels that he should have the status of a god. He wants to have total control over the citizens by using scare tactics and invading their personal lives.

Strongest Sister

Okay, Minerva is the strongest blah blah blah, but if you think about it, her strength is always mental, she's always speaking about being high minded about things but has she really done any thing yet? Patria's raised two children and suffered the death of a third. Dede is stern, patient, and has to put up with publicity and long interviews.

Minerva is strong minded. I don't know if she's done anything significant yet.

How did the sisters die?

How did the sisters die?

what the government is doing to them

Basically the government is controlling them, they can't do exactly what they want to do. They have certain rules they have to follow everyday or they die.


the government is controlling them, the powerful people in the govrenment probably live like kings


She may not have done anything yet, but what challenges was she faced with? I think, because of her being strong-minded, she will be well prepared when faced with a challenge.

author is trying to tell us...

i think so far that the author is saying that you should always fight for what you believe in no matter the consiquince

Patria is the strongest sister

I believe Patria is the strongest sister because she is the sister that holds the sisters together. Minerva is always taking out and getting into trouble, which makes them get into trouble. Patria knows how to get the job done while holding everything together.


Oh yeah, it took me a while but MATE is Maria Teresa. It took me so long to figure that out, even though it was probably mentioned. Sometimes I have to skim through the pages because they're so long so it's easy to miss the small things.

strongest sister

do you think that any of the other sisters are influenced by minerva and her beliefs?


whats with the father of the sisters?

I liked this book a lot. It w

I liked this book a lot. It was different, and interesting. I liekd how it was about 4 strong sisters, and we got to see what each of them went through in their own perspective.

whos hot

which sister would win on "Elimidate" with me

strongest sister

Politically, Minerva is the strongest sister and leads the others in their rebellion against the government. Patria is the strongest religiously, maintaining her faith despite the hardships the sisters endure. Also, she takes care of her family and keeps their welfare as her main concern.

ya that could be true, but ma

ya that could be true, but maybe the government is hoping once they get to a certain point of discipline with their people than they wont have to control them as much anymore, rather the people will just follow and know what is expected of them


The theme of the novel is most likely independence-for example, Minerva has independent thoughts and desires, Maria Teresa NEEDS to be independent from Minerva, the country needs to be independent from Trujillo.

Do you think there is a parallel between the father's attachment/control over the women to Trujillo's attachment and control over the country?

Did I like the book?

I do like this book. It is believable. I love the format that is is written in (the different sisters diary entries). You get to know each of the sisters personally and you get inside their heads. I hate history but this book is actually a great history lesson. I tells so much about the power that the government had over the people living in the Dominican Republic. It scares me that something so powerful could take over anywhere, including the United States...

In my opinion, Patria is the

In my opinion, Patria is the strongest sister. In the beginning, she focused so much on her religion. Later on she fought back, by doing what she herself wanted.

Why do you think the author u

Why do you think the author used females to operate the story??
Do you think there is a particular reason???

Can somebody help me out with a bomb thesis??

it would help me out a lot since I am not the best essay writer in the world...

I liked the book

I liked this book very much. Any book that tugs at my emotions and makes me think deeper about certain issues is a wonderful book to me. we are able to explore the different viewpoints of women and how we do matter in society. It shows women as strong minded people who fight for what they believe and won't stop fighting until they get what they want.


i think the top dogs in the government are bennifitting by controlling its people, i dont think its a matter of discipline


i think you would have trouble with all of them because of the language barrier.

re whos hot

i would say the one that would win for you is Minerva, everyone always complements her on her beauty in the book


how did the father die?


which sisters died, and how


What do you mean what's with him? He's attached to his daughters, especially Minerva because she has the most liberal and independent intentions...his excuse for cheating on his wife is because "that's what men do," he strongly believes in Trujillo...what else has he done, he kept letters from Lio away from Minerva so that she wouldn't leave and revolt against the gov with Trujillo...He's a total jerk who's just scared inside. But he loves his daughters to death of course.

That's until he dies anyway. How does he die?


Is this a good book to read? Yes. The protagonists are very likeable and the antagonist is very dislikeable. The fact that this book is written in the journal adds a little extra flavor to the book. While I think attempting a coup against the government is commendable, it is also extremely foolish. How could four people overthrow a very brutal and unforgiving government?

The father

The father loved his girls very much. He ended up cheating on the girls mom and having more daughters. He gets put in jail and has a stroke. He eventually dies. READ THE BOOK SHANE


Why didn't Minerva tell the others about her suspicions that they may be ambushed on their way to visit their husbands? And why did they go home so late if they knew it was risky? Couldn't both of these actions have helped to prevent their deaths?


love has its own languge


The sisters were ambushed on the pass on there way home. The men took the girls out of there car and clubbed them to death. Patria tried to ask for help but the truck drivers kept on driving for fear of getting hurt themselves.


a good thesis would be about how the government controls the life of the people and how it takes a toll on them.


The author used females to operate the story because if it were about males there would be no story.

Female Role

I think there are females in the story because the readers will be surprised at their strength, whereas if there were men in the story, it would be taken more as a wartime novel instead of a cultural novel about women and how much they can contribute to the world's ideas. It's a little feminist, but everything in the novel is applicable to men too.


it's a tie! well i know Minerva is the strongest mentally, but Patria got some guts too. She has been through a lot of crap and she seems to be doing pretty good for herself. Although Minerva stands up for what she thinks and she is strong in that aspect, Patria has been through more.

Yes, because in the beginning

Yes, because in the beginning Patria and Maria Teresa didn't really care much about the Trujillo and his government. They followed the rules, and did what they were taught. However, once Minerva started talking more and more about it, they believed her beliefs. Especially in prison when Maria Teresa wanted to take the pardon, but Minerva told her not to and Maria Teresa listened.


is patria going to pursue her carrer as a nun, and do any of the girls look up to minerva as she is the strongest sister

females telling the story

I think it is interesting that the author used females to tell the story because most stories about overthrowing the goverment involve guys. I think the author did this to show a different viewpoint.

Did you like this book?

I think this book was a good book. I like that it was written in diary form you get more than one persons point of view when you are reading the book. But on the other hand I got a little confused because it was written in diary form. When I read parts of the book I could not figure out which character was saying or doing what was going on in the book.

I think they used women to sh

I think they used women to show a different perspective. We're so used to reading about men, and the hardships they go through. This book proves that women are capable of doing things that are not expected of them.


okay well the father was in prison for a long time and he was sick too. Then he got out of jail and got even sicker, eventually he just died from being sick....what a depressing way to die.

Death Reply

Yes I believe they could have prevented there death by those actions. Maybe the question is, did Minerva think they could have prevented their deaths? Maybe she believed that either way something was going to happen to them. I beleive she did not tell her sisters because she did not want to scare them any more and if they were to die, she wanted them to go happy with out fear. I still do not understand why they just didnt stay the night somewhere when she knew about the ambush.


the author used females because, the author is a female and she wants to show that women did have important roles in revolutionizing countries and that it wasnt just men doing everything


yeah, it was mentioned really early in the book, but only once and not as a main point. they just used the first two letters of her names MAria TEresa i guess.

its decent

honestly i havent gotten too far into the book but the the way the book is set up makes it very easy to read. the diary form helps it make it more realistic and not just like a normal boring book. Hopefully this book will be as interesting as it seems.


The strongest sister is...
The weakest sister is...

Minerva should have/should not have been so expressive about her thoughts.


While the first thing that would pop into my mind would be, "Female author=Female Protagonist. DUH!!". I can't agree with it. The author may be feminist. I highly doubt it. Using a male as a lead is so stereotypical. To make the story and message stronger, Julia Alvarez used females to make the story seem more realistic. The fact that the four sisters came from a perfect family (each sister has a husband and children)the fact that they would give up everything to fight for their freedom, makes the story interesting. For example, men going to war is an everyday common thing. But women going to war is big news. Women going to war is outside of waht we call the "norm", therefore, it grabs our attention.

worry wart

i think that minerva is the kind of girl that wouldnt want to worry her sisters

What does this mean?

What does pobrecita (pg. 23) mean?


How are women treated differently in our country from fifty years ago until now?


What about the place, how are women cultured differently in the DOminican Republic vs. the U.S.? How might that impact the overthrow of the government?

bye dad!

do you remeber when the dad and minerva were taken tot he capital? yeah he died then i think he was killed by the government because of his daughter but i dont know! =0)

Pobrecita means "poor child".

Pobrecita means "poor child". It shows that she has pity for something. It's like saying "poor girl".

do you think Dede somewhat knew she would be the only...

to survive??


I think a woman was the author so we could get a different perspective rather then always have to hear a mans view. The book was based on women therefore a women writing the story would have more of an advantage because us women understand each other more then men.

Women fifty years ago didnt h

Women fifty years ago didnt have any rights and were treated as lower class. First it was the white men,women and then african american people. Women were expected to stay in the house and cook and clean and get the kids ready for school and what ever else that they needed to do. Women were looked down upon if they got jobs. The so called men felt that it was their duty to be the supporter of the family. Women were very feminin, petite, nice, kind, and warm.
women now are very independend and have jobs. in my opinion women now are better off because they are their own individuals, they are the type of person who they choose to be and not by what society let them be.

In your opinion...

Do you think that the mirabal sisters follewed Minervas rebelious ideas about overthrowing the government to follow her lead and be true sisters? Or do you think that they became involved for their own personal desires?

The fathers other children

How long did the family know that the dad had other children with another women? Was the wife mad, or forgive him?

This is Alex V.

How does the sisters rebellions affect the country and the thoughts of a womens place?

He's an idiot!

The dad is a joke! he says he loves his family then he totally goes and makes a new one! So now he has to wives (because he did marry her) and 7 girls. i'm glad he passed away because he was making everyone who knew misrable.

What happen to Lina?

I know when she got pregnant the guy sent her away, but whatever happened to her in the end?

shane is cute

i havnt gotten to far into the book either.I also like how the book is written like a diary. Its helps me stay foccussed on the book.
P.S. prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Poor Girl in Spanish

Porbracita means a poor or innocent girl.

women over men

I think the author had her own means of choosing women for the story, although it's based on a true story. I think by using women it made the story better and more interesting. Using men would have been a bit cliche and taken away the significance of the characters.


well yeah because, it was much more tougher for females at this time, and all they went through. Men didnt go through these problems so harshly. if it were males used to operate this story, it wouldnt be anywhere near as possible. Plus there most likely wouldnt be good diary entrys if there were any, if it were males. Females add much more strenght to the story, rather than what males would add.

different views

do you beleive that the way in which the father died represented something more or simply a death?


i don't think that the sisters were just going along with minerva just to support her. i think that they started noticing some of the things minerva was saying made sense and they started to agree with her.

In general

In general what would you have to say would be the main points in the book were, and why?

Hear! Hear!

yeah i totally agree with that! there all about guys or written by guys because men dont know how to write about women. Guys don't understand what women go through and how their mind works. I don't think they even know how their own minds work. i think its cool that julia alverez showed that women could take a stand and do whatever

Using women

The author probably used women because she is a women and it is easy relating to them and trying to relate to men or trying and comprehend what goes on in their head would be to stressful. Also women had to fight more for the rights and that makes it more interesting to the reader if there is a struggle.

In my opinion, i feel that Mi

In my opinion, i feel that Minerva was the strongest sister out of the four. Minerva had a strong personality and did what she thought was right. She didnt care about her physical condition, all she cared about was her beliefs and how to accomplish her goals. Minerva was very out spoken and said what was on her mind. When Minerva was in jail she didnt want to get out with out the others. Not only did she look out for herself, but the future of the country that she lived in.
Dede was the weakest in my mind. I feel sorry for her because she couldnt stand up to her husband for what she believed in. she gave into him and jut followed the average women of those times in that country. reading the book i would get frusterated and just wanted her to stand up for herself and do what she wanted to do and what she thought was the right decision.

In the end they are on the wa

In the end they are on the way home in the car and they get stopped by people in the government because they want to kill they kills to stop all the meetings. They are eventually pushed over the edge.

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