Martyrdom in Its Purest Form

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What defines a martyr? Why is it that only few people are bestowed the honor of becoming a martyr? A martyr is not only a person who suffers for a cause but who also loves that cause and dies fighting for it. In the novel In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez uses the character of Minerva Mirabal to show what martyrdom is and that becoming a martyr is more difficult than most think. Because of Minerva’s involvement with the revolution, she has suffered the repercussions of disobeying Trujillo and his infamous SIM; emotionally she is torn up. Then after she suffers through as much as a person can bear, she is delivered the most severe punishment of all, death. Minerva Mirabal proves what it is to be a martyr because throughout the entire revolution, she faced danger around every corner and suffered the pain of her family. And she never stopped fighting. Minerva’s time in prison takes a huge toll on her. Before she goes in, she is this strong and passionate revolutionary who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. But after her time on prison, her daily life is difficult. Almost every noise distracts and strikes fear in her, because of the months of the eerie silence in the prison. For example, one day after Minerva’s release, she loses it for just a second, “And once, Minou got a hold of a piece of pipe and was rattling it against the galería rail… My poor little girl burst out crying, frightened by the terror in my voice (Alvarez 259.)” From this encounter, Minerva proves just how terrifying her time in prison was; she won’t even let her own daughter play a certain way. Minerva’s time in prison has transformed her in such a way; she must put on an act just to live her everyday life. Because she knows that as soon as one of the Mariposas shows weakness, the people’s faith in her will diminish. For the sake of the Revolution, Minerva has lost her true self to the evilness of one man. Throughout the course of the revolution, Minerva has had to make...
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