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 think that Dede knew she wo

I think that Dede knew she would be safe because she kept her distance from the meetings her sisters went to. I think the only reason she did not get involved as much as her sisters did was because of her husband. She doesn't seem to think for herself much, so she allowed her husband to choose for her. Dede was the only sister to not give up eveything she had just to follow desires for wanting to overthrow the government. To answer your question, I do think that Dede knew she would be safe because of the way she isolated herself from her sisters when they became really involved with their plans and meetings.

women are treated the same

yes we have more rights and do more for the country, but discrimination towards us is still there, just in a different form. Being a woman shouldn't be a burden, it should be a priviledge, but in some cases it feels like a burden. We're still stereotyped to be weak, emotional fools, by these movies that are out now (not all, but some). Even though in last 50 years we've come a long way, it'll still be some time until a heroine woman saves a man, and everyone acknowledges it.


Women now have rights and are usually treated as "equals" like we have improved or something, but women still get paid less in the real world for doing the same job as men. So women are treated better and have moved up in the world but some of the treatment that happened 50 years ago still happens today.

No patria realizs that that i

No patria realizs that that is not the direction that her life is going to go as for God has sent her a message as a man is standing over her.
i think that all the girls look up to minerva for her strengh and the fact that she is the deadliest to the government, even out of the guys. she is pretty much the capitan or the leader of the invasion,


well, even though there is an outrageously high rate of women disasters such as car accidents etc. they are still strong and can fight to the end. Thats basically what im getting out of what the author is trying to tell us.


(katie)yeah i think that she kinda knew but didn't becaus eshe never really got involved with minerva and her other sister's plans and plots to go against the government.(sam)I agree with Katie that she kinda knew that she was going to be only one because she didn't really get in the middle of all the chaos of trying to bring down the government and all.

she lives in flordia in a man

she lives in flordia in a mansion


i beleive that life for a woman in the dominican republic would be much heavier to carry then one would be in the u.s. first of all the d.r. is run by men with men for the men. what men say goes. women are housewives and nothing more. in the u.s., especially now, women are encouraged to make a career, a name for themselves. not only do they have more freedom to develope into who they want to be, but men have also started taking more responsibilities; responsibilities that previously were held by women. equality is a big issue in this country. it isn't perfect, but nothing is. point is, definately better the the d.r.

i know

I think that both of them would loose because your so perfect. And you have he hormones of a 35 year old woman in labor. you are just so cool you crazy kid crawler. But i think you should just stick with keny and jay. But if you had to pick a winner i would say Dede becuase she is so mature and opposites attract.......

Love, Jared

i used to like things but i dont so much anymore

well that's clever of you, i agree but don't you think that the government was bad to the Maribal family and do you not think that it is odd at the end of the book when the butterflies are mentioned as a bad thing because the people are weak and are not doing anything about the people that are getting killed. do you not think it should be titled In The Time Of The Marmots? because Marmots are small and weak

Why did?

Why did Trujillo suspect the sisters of having a hand in trying to overthrow the government?

Who is the strongest sister? Dusty

patria, i say this because she sticks with her beliefs.

so true

yes becuase minerva made some very good points and had some strong opinions that she based her life around.

This is Chris Huebschle

Why is the book written in journal form instead of chronological order or from the view point of just one person? Would this have changed the tone or voice of the novel? Would it have affected the main point of the novel?

feminist author

the author is a FEMINAZI and used women because she is trying to move the female population of the world to overthrow men all toghether and cancell them out of our everyday lives, but in reality,there would be a lot less car crashes if women werent allowed to drive, and many more lives would be saved if women werent allowed to be fire fighters. because, my opinion is, they cant hack it

What happened to mate?

(katie) what happened to her in la victoria when she thought that she was pregnant? i don't really understand what happened. Was leandro there? was she really pregnant? What did the guy say he was going to do when he saw the gaurds electricuting her?

The mom knew for a long time

The mom knew for a long time about her husband being involved with a younger woman which is why he slept in a separate room. The sisters knew something was wrong with the way their parents were acting with eachother. Minvera was the first to find out when she drove past the house that the father kept his mistress and kids. Minerva was furious when she found out but then after awhile she went over to their house and helped the kids get into school and gave them some money. Minerva kept this from the rest of the family to prevent more conflict within the family.

Yes I liked the book. As much

Yes I liked the book. As much as it was all a tradegy it still came up on top. The Diary form mat helped me understand each girl


(sam)Hey where did the mom go in the story? I forgot I don't remeber, did she die, fall off the face of the earth? What the heck! where did she go?


well i don't think DeDe knew that she would be the only one to survive but she was just so calm and she behaved all the time so i think that in a way she had a feeling deep inside...

Marmots....whats with em?

So we can all agree that Marmots are weak small little animals, but does anyone think that Marmots are weaker than butterflies? because Marmots do have claws and sharp teeth capable of biting, but butterflies can sometimes carry poison, that can kill you. and they are hard to catch, in the Dominican Republic the people are not hard to catch but they do bite

time of the marmots

yes josh, i agree with your theory, time of the marmots is an excellent choice of title for the book. you are a clever boy josh, cute too, keep it up, stay clean, stay in school,

The Governments Control

DO you think the government in the book and our government is alike? Of so how? DO you think they have to much control?

the mom knew for a long time

that is true about the mom sleeping in the other room because her husband was sleeping with someone else. also, everything else was true with minerva, but her father shouldn't of hit her for the way she acted.

The Governments Control

the government in the dominican is supposedly a "Republic" but other than that, that is the only simularity I can see in these two governments. One thing about our country is that we have the freedom to say pretty much whatever we want, while as in this book in the Dominican, if you say anything bad or critising the government, you would get thrown in jail. They don't hold elections like us, instead Tujillo has "named" himself president.

Government Control: Our Side

Our government and thier government are tottally different. Although our government can be close minded and one sided, we still have a democracy. Their government controls all aspects of the country. Yes I do believe they have way too much control and abuse the power they have. And I would be very frightened if our government was allowed to dictate as their government does.

similar governments between Dominican and U.S.- and Jillian

The main goal of the two governments are the same. Both use power to influence people's lives and tell them what is "right" and what should happen for the better of the government and the country. I think the overall goal of government is good but many people abuse their power. There are many big name politicians that abuse their power in the U.S. but in the Dominican Republic the government not only influences the people but tells them what to do.

main points

One of the biggest themes in the book is priorities, and how the environment changed the sister's priorities. At first, the sisters are pretty ok with the government and don't complain. Minerva's encounter with Sinita changes everything for her when she learned that Trujillo is dishonest and kills people. Patria is sad when she sees a young boy die in battle. Their priorities change, and they put the revolution before their lives. Minerva wants freedom, and Patria wants to save kids. It looks like Maria Teresa joins the fight for the adventure.

in your opinion replyed

i think that the mirable sisters where following the minervas rebelious ideas and they had there own motive because of their father becoming sick and dieing.

the book is written in the style of a journal b/c .and Jillian

I think that the book was written in the style of a journal to give the book a more personal perspective for the readers. If the book was written in chronological order it would have make the book less interesting and a lot more boring.

my relpy to gunthers idea.

yes. i agree. i would also hate if our government affected all aspects of our life. I dont kno if i would be able to live like that. I think that this has a huge affect on the story and is a verry key part to understanding alot of what happens in the story.

in the time of the butterflies cruz

i think they are totally different people b/c the governer won by himself and earn it the hard way but trujillo in the book, instead of trying to do it the hard way he decided to kill everybody to get to were he wanna go and become. i do think trujillo has to much stuff on his mind that makes him to bossy and think he has control over everybody. also thinks he can get every girl he see coming his way.

Different Views: Death represents...

The fathers death represents more than death. His death represents the deterioration of the country. His encarseration represents the country being dictated and held back. His release represents the country being liberated eventually. And his death represents the lose of strength by the country after having the life squeezed out of it, even after gaining freedom

secret packages and mail

maria teresa got involved with what her sister was doing behind the governments back. she moved into an apartment with sonia to collect packages and plans to over throw the government.she got really worried because the owner of the building came down for a suprise vist and maria thought she say plans lying on the table. sonia said don't worry about it because a different kind of contraband in mind. maria is still worried


Its definetly not a matter of discipline but a bunch of stuff your required to follow. also for elimidate i don't think you could handle any of the sisters... Stick to your truck.

In the time of the butterflies

Trujillo suspected the sisters of having a hand in trying to overthrow the government because they were strong women who were not afraid to voice there opinions about the government to people they trusted. they took control over their educations, and when they went to Trujillos parties they never let him control them and ignored his sexual comments. Also when the girls at the school performed the play for trujillo, the one little girl raised the arrow to trujillos head, and from then on trujillo knew that the sisters associated with people who hated the government.

In the Time of the Butterfliys

I think the mom just like the father died of a broken heart. What i mean is that she lost pritty much all her famliy to the government.

point of veiw

hey there Huebstable. Anyways, i think the amazing thing about this book is how in fact it is written in the girls point of view. It is actually in chronalgical order, just each chapter is being told by another girl, but they go in order, and then every now and then coming back to Dede in the "present." I don't think this novel would have quite the same effect if it had been written by some boring narriator's point of veiw. When the story is written by the girls, you feel this personal connection with them, as if they are taking you into their lives, and hold your intrest within the book. It definatly would not have the same effect, and would be one HUGE bore to read.

woman rights

i think we are treated alot differently then back then. we have our rights and we are treated as equals to the men like they let us vote and have the same jobs as they do.

in the time of the butterflies cruz

trujillo sent her to this far away place b/c his wife or girlfriend was trying to kill her b/c she found out about them two and trujillo did not want her to be/get hurt, and she is at the house waiting for him to call and taking care of her baby all alone.

Women in the Dominican Republic

The women in the Dominican Republic are treated unfairly because women don't have much of a voice to make anything change in the government. In the U.S women at least have equal rights but the women had to fight to attain the rights. So I guess the only way to get equal right's in the Dominican Republic is to rebel. Maybe they will...

in the time of the butterflies cruz

leo, but he came back and ended up dying.


what ever happened to minerva's friend sinita? i know she moved to the capital for college, but what happened to her after that?

i agree

using men in this story would have made it another book about how men are rebeling.....again.... using women made this book alot more interesting and it keeps you wanting to know how they are going to do what they do next.

i agree, good point - jillian

I agree, good point Dan. A lot of old people die when they are really sad and dont have anything to live for. That could very well be what happened to the mother.


In this book, women have more of a tendency to marry earlier, with more emphasis on the family. The sisters didn't even have to attend school. I have heard that Catholics disapprove of divorce, so maybe that's why Mama and Minerva stay by their husbands even though the husbands are cheating. It could just be a cultural difference though. Women in the story aren't respected as people. Men admire them, make lewd comments about them, and use them. Trujillo was mean to women, which influenced the Mirabals to take action. Trujillo took their classmate as his girlfriend, abandoned her, and almost took Minerva too.

the reply to in general

I think the main point of the book was freedom. All as they wanted was to be free and not haf to Watch what they say and hang that dum picher on the wall of trujillo.

Does Minerva love Lio?

We know Dede had a secret crush on him, and we know Minerva says that she didnt. But does she not love him, or is she just denying it? I think she really does love him, but doesn't realize she did untill he leaves. He was so upset when she hadn't heard from him, but we later learn that her dad his hiding his letters. But time goes by, and she meets someone else. I was very upset that he is not in the story anymore bcause I feel she really does love him, and true love should not be kept from eachother. Maybe Im just being silly, but I really think she loved him. Tell me what you guys think.

Too big of a family

Can anyone remember all of the family members in the Mirabil family? I think I have to draw a picture just to remember the sons, daughters, husbands, and other people just to remember.

the reason they used girls in the story

Because it was based on a true story.

in the time of the butterflies cruz

i think that the women now a days have more free power to do anything they choose to. even vote. we as in woman have become more stronger in our mind and soul. instead of having being treated like a little girl or being sent to man to man. to me you will respect people in the way you would want to be treated.we choose to do what we want instead of listening to what some man has to say!!

so true

i agree with you about it being harder on woman back then. they had to deal with alot and the males didn't have to go through what they did. the men had different things to worry about. boys don't keep diary entries and if they would of talked about war or other stuff like that. females talk about stuff thats going wrong with the country.

sunshine in the time of the butterflies

i believe that mate was really pregnant and had abortion in jail. the reasons i think this is because when she was in jail and she kept missing her periods and having nausea she started talking about how she had a midwife in her cell, but she could not do anything without her sister Minerva. Minerva i believe was in solitary confinment. and in the next journal entry she comments on having a very bad story that she can not bear to tell, she then goes on to say she has either bled a baby or had a period. no leandro was not in jail with her.


Sinita looks like a nickname for Sina, so I think this is the same person. If I remember right, she joined the revolution and ended up in prison with the Mirabals.

Lio who?

I think she might of loved him. but I think he just disapeared. he went !POOF! be gone! =)

true siters

I think that the biggest reason the other to sitters got involved was because they loved each other so much that they would do any thing for each other. and I also think they went to school to gether worked to gether so they just had to be to gether.


The same thing did cross my mind, but i dont think they are the same person. They talk about her in Maria Teresa's chapter, and Sinita was Minerva's friend, even so i think someone would have said something about her being Sinita. Why would She change her name anyway even if it were a nick name? When Minerva meets Lio, she asks him if he knows Sinita, and not someone named Sina, and if they were the same person, i think she would have asked if he knew Sina. I do doubt they are the same person.

dan.. that was deep

dan.. that was deep

Hi, everyone

I'm really enjoying following the discussion here! I'll throw my two cents in about Mate: I am pretty sure she was raped--and tortured--very possibly raped using objects other than or in addition to the penis, I'm afraid. :-( The courage those women had gives me chills to this day...just the attitude they took toward the regime--"Never believe them. Never fear them"--is a testament to their bravery.

Here's more on the Mirabal sisters.

dedes survival

i think dede knew her sisters would be in more danger than herself because she did distance herself from her sisters political ventures and she did not include herself in all their outings to the prisons. she was more aware of the reality of death than her sisters. i know she felt like they put themselves in to much danger and thats why she did not participate in the politics as much. she may have know that she could have been seen as guilty by association in the governments eyes. so no i dont think she knew she was definetly going to survive but i do think she knew she had a better chance of surviving than her sisters did.

the only one left...

It's interesting that Dede wanted to die and be with her sisters, but she didn't join them. I think she wanted to stay home and take care of the kids the other sisters would leave behind. Or maybe she wanted to stay loyal to her husband's wishes. Who knows.

Lio friend

It looks like Lio was just a friend to Minerva. If she had more feelings for him, she was very good at hiding it and being in denial. Dede had a crush on Lio. It would have been interesting if Dede had married him and joined his part of the revolution.

she died

She died.


Marmots would make a good symbol for the Mirabal sisters, for the reasons you said above.
The Mirabals may have been called butterflies because it's a feminine symbol. And maybe because butterflies are hard to catch.
Why do you think they're called the butterflies?


In the Dominican Republic, they were called "Las Mariposas," and you got me going into the book to find why. From page 142 of my paperback copy:

A national underground is forming. Everyone and everything has a code name. Manolo is Enriquillo, after the great Taino chieftain, and Minerva, of course, is Mariposa.

The chapter I'm quoting from is written from Mate's point of view, and on p. 143 she refers to herself as "Mariposa (#2)." Patria is #3. I guess that only half answers the question, though. Why does Mate say "of course" Minerva's name is going to be Mariposa? Butterflies must have some other, prior meaning in Minerva's life.


in spanish maraposa means butterflie. Maraposa 1,2, and 3 were the sisters code names.


how can you relate to Dede in real life

I think she does love him, ev

I think she does love him, even though she said that she loved him as a friend. Let's think about this, where would the story had steered if she had gotten married to him? Do you think that she would be as take charge as she is now? I think the fact that she's not with him is why she is so take charge now. Let me know what you think. Plus, which character do you think you identify most with and why?


yeah...sounds like your just another incompitant man bashing women for no real reason because men statistically are worse drivers then women and suck

minerva's love towards lio

i agree that minerva still had feeling for him... because i dont think you can say she loved him anymore she went so far in her life without him.... i think that minerva was fine with manolo i think she does LOVE manolo becuase of all the things they went through together and you realize how much you love someone when you are not able to be with them for example when he was arrested and she was trying her hardest to get him out.

what are the 4 issues of the cutural relativity

does anyone know that answer?

sina and sinita are the same

sina and sinita are the same person, in the last chapter in dede's part someone asks whatever happened to her and they say she ended up in asylum... i dont really know what that means but they are defintley the same person.


hey. im beth. i have some essay questions due wednesday on IN the Time Of the butterflies. normally i would actually take the time ot read the book, but ive been caught up in this one and i couldnt get myself to read it. something about it being manditory i didnt like. so if you get some free time. could you IM me on broderick445 or email me at before wednesday? that would be super. thanks.

i hate this book

this book is so boring


I think that their nickname was Mariposa b/c a butterfly is a symbol of reedom. and what better than a symbol of freedom than a butterfly? Also because a butterfly is contained in a cacoon b4 becoming a butterfly than they r free. so if there is a better explaination than that I would like to hear it. :-)

Random Question

i jus wanted to say how much i really enjoyed reading "in the time of the butterflies". Out of all the books, this one is my fav. Im sorry to hear that some would find it "boring". I jus thought it was such an AWESOME! novel. The book and I connected...
quick question...
Do u think this novel has somethin meaningful to say about humanity, society, or a philosohipcal, theological, and/or social issue?

IM me asap- SrfrGal439 or post it!

strongest sister

i think it is Maria Theresa. if you look back on the novel you will see that she had done the most growing up. i think that she is also the strongest because when she was in the jail cell, she put up with so much! im not saying that the other sisters werent as strong, but its just my personal opinion.

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