Religion Shapes Culture and Identity

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Religion Shapes Culture and Identity
After reading Julia Alvarez' In the Time of the Butterflies it is quite clear that religion has a drastic impact on culture and identity. Be it on the individual level as the impact of Catholicism on Patria's life, or on a national scale and its effects on the country of the Dominican Republic as a whole.

During the 1950's in the Dominican Republic the Roman Catholic Church was very much removed from politics. Until the dictator Trujillo came to power and a pastoral letter was written calling for respect for human rights and an improved standard of living for the citizens of the Dominican. This angered Trujillo and caused him to order a campaign of harassment against the church. Which lead to the accusation that five Catholic priests were guilty of conspiracy and bomb making with the anti- Trujillo movement. It was only because of the dictators death that his plan of imprisoning all of the countries bishops was prevented.

Patria's story of religion in her life during the reign of Trujillo is a lot more intimate. Beginning at birth Patria has always been religious. Until the birth of her child when she was devastated with the news that her baby would not survive. This caused her to turn away from the church and to temporarily lose her faith. Near the end of the book Patria returns to a church congregation and re-gains her faith when she realizes that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only looking over her from heaven but she is always with us in the room. This I believe is what gives her a lot of ambition to carry on living in such a difficult situation.

Religion plays such a significant role in "In the Time of the Butterflies" by comparing Trujillo to Jesus. " In Mama's old house, portraits of Jesus and Trujillo hung side by side." This comparison is so important cause it directly shows how people used to feel about Trujillo before he became a overzealous control hungry dictator. As Trujillo is such a control freak he...
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