In the Time of the Butterflies

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The Living Martyr
Dedė’s life was always affected by the dictatorship of Trujillo. Even though she was not part of the regime, she still suffered. Dedė’s martyrdom was to be alive without her sisters. All the things she has sacrificed has made her a heroine today.

In the beginning of the novel Dedė is discussing the life of the butterflies with the interviewer because she says, “tell me all of it.” (Alvarez 5). She starts off by describing the three girls, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Patria. “Yes, so different. Minerva was always into her wrongs and rights.” Dede3 realizes she is speaking to the picture of Minerva, as if she were assigning her a part, pinning her down with a handful of adjectives, the beautiful, intelligent, high-minded Minerva. “And Maria Teresa, ay, Dios,” Dedė sighs, emotion in her voice in spite of herself. “Still a girl when she died, probecita, just turned twenty-five.” Dedė moves on to the last picture and rights the frame, “Sweet Patria, always her religion was so important.” (Alvarez 6). Within that passage, it is unquestionable that Dedė is sad and deeply misses her sisters and has an appreciation of their memory, as any sibling should.

“Dedė took the chimney off the lamp, and with a trembling had, fed the letter to the flame. The paper lit up. Ashes, fluttered like moths and Dedė ground them to dust on the floor. She had taken care of the problem, and that was that. Looking up at the mirror, she was surprised by the wild look on her face. The ring on her finger flashed a feverish reminder. She brushed her hair up into a tight ponytail and put on her nightgown. Having blown out the light, she slept fitfully, holding her pillow like a man in her arms.” (Alvarez 83). This is very important to the story because it not only affects Dedė but Minerva as well. When she burned the letter she did it just to protect Minerva. If Minerva had read the letter she, in all likelihood, would have ran off with Lio to follow his revolution....
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