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In the Time of the Butterflies

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1 In the Time of the Butterflies
By Julia Alvarez

2 Dominican Republic Historical/Literary Figures
* The Mirabal Sisters Fidel Castro * Rafael Trujillo José Martí * SIM Gabriela Mistral

3 Dominican Republic Historical/Literary Figures
*OAS Rousseau *River Massacre Gandhi

4 Julia Alvarez I guess the first thing I should say is that I was not born in the Dominican Republic. The flap bio on García Girls mentioned I was raised in the D.R., and a lot of bios after that changed raised to born, and soon I was getting calls from my mother.

5 Bio I was born in New York City during my parents' first and failed stay in the United States. When I was three months old, my parents, both native Dominicans, decided to return to their homeland, preferring the dictatorship of Trujillo to the U.S.A. of the early 50s.

6 Once again, my father got involved in the underground and soon my family was in deep trouble. We left hurriedly in 1960, four months before the founders of that underground, the Mirabal sisters, were brutally murdered by the dictatorship (see In the Time of the Butterflies).

7 It's not like I didn't know some English at ten when we landed in New York City. But classroom English, heavily laced with Spanish, did not prepare me for the "barbaric yawp" of American English -- as Whitman calls it.

8 I couldn't tell where one word ended and another began
I couldn't tell where one word ended and another began. I did pick up enough English to understand that some classmates were not very welcoming. Spic! a group of bullies yelled at me in the playground. Mami insisted that the kids were saying, Speak! And then she wonders where my storytelling genes come from.

9 When I'm asked what made me into a writer, I point to the watershed experience of coming to this country. Not understanding the language, I had to pay close attention to each word -- great training for a writer. I also discovered the welcoming world of the imagination and books. There, I sunk my new roots. Of course, autobiographies are written afterwards. Talk to my tías in the D.R. and they'll tell you I was making up stuff way before I ever set foot in the United States of America.

10 (And getting punished for it, too. Lying, they called it back then
(And getting punished for it, too. Lying, they called it back then.) But they're right. As a kid, I loved stories, hearing them, telling them. Since ours was an oral culture, stories were not written down. It took coming to this country for reading and writing to become allied in my mind with storytelling.

11 All through high school and college and then a graduate program in creative writing I was a driven soul. I knew that I wanted to be a writer. But it was the late sixties, early seventies. Afro-American writers were just beginning to gain admission into the canon. Latino literature or writers were unheard of. Writing which focused on the lives of non-white, non mainstream characters was considered of ethnic interest only, the province of sociology. But I kept writing, knowing that this was what was in me to do.

12 Of course, I had to earn a living
Of course, I had to earn a living. That's how I fell into teaching, mostly creative writing, which I loved doing. For years, I traveled across the country with poetry-in-the-schools programs, working until the funds dried up in one district, and then I'd move on to the next gig. After five years of being a migrant writer, I decided to put down roots and began teaching at the high school level, moving on to college teaching, and finally, on the strength of some publications in small magazines and a couple of writing prizes, I landed a tenure-track job.

13 1991 was a big year. I earned tenure at Middlebury College and published my first novel, How The García Girls Lost Their Accents. I was forty-one with twenty-plus years of writing behind me. I often mention this to student writers who are discouraged at nineteen when they don't have a book contract!

14 The Mirabal Sisters Maria Theresa (Mate) Minerva Patria

15 The Mirabal Sisters

16 Raphael Trujillo

17 Trujillo Raphael Trujillo was the dictator or the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961.

18 So what are we learning? ROUTINE WRITING - Notes, summaries, process journals, and short responses Annotate the texts looking for examples of literary devices (theme, allusion, imagery, etc) Take notes as you read the text using a variety of note-taking styles Maintain character logs to follow any development and growth of the main characters. Create a new tab in your binder for the novel, In the Time of the Butterflies.

19 Note Word Patterns Dictate dictatorship dictation dictatorial

20 Read the brief article on Rafael Trujillo

21 In the Time of the Butterflies
Discuss the title The concept of heroism The symbolism of the butterfly (transformation and freedom).

22 Use context clues to define “historical fiction”
“the genre of literature, film, etc., comprising narratives that take place in the past and characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages”

23 The Novel is organized in three parts
The Novel is organized in three parts. The narrators alternate by sister. We begin with Dede, then Minerva, Maria Theresa, and Patria. Begin a vocabulary section in your notebook to log new/unfamiliar words and Spanish words.  Practice pronunciation of common Spanish words in the text. Use to assist.

24 Homework: Visit the following websites about the Dominican Republic:

25 What is a Hero? historical fiction and heroism?
Discuss the things that are considered factual in the novel and the things that are considered legend. compile a list of “everyday” or “unlikely” heroes from any time period.

26 Handout “Chasing the Butterflies,” by Julia Alavarez
read it aloud as a class. Annotate the article.

27 o “And so it was that my family’s emigration to the United States started at the very time their lives ended.” o “There are still twigs and dirt and slivers of glass from her last moments tumbling down the mountain in that rented jeep.” o “This is the first I hear there is a fourth sister who survived.” o “As we descended the mountain, I felt as if we had traveled the whole route of their lives to the place where they had been struck down.” o “And now that I had come to love the girls in my head, I didn’t want them to be dead.”

28 Discuss Julia Alavarez’s narrow escape from Trujillo’s regime when she was a child.
Read “Exile” by Julia Alvarez

29 Read Chapter 1 aloud as a class stopping periodically to allow time for questions, notes, or annotations. Pay attention to how Dedé describes each of her sisters.

30 Homework: Research the Dominican Republic
the history of the island of Hispaniola (Haiti & the DR) the people and population the racial issues between Haitians and Dominicans the River Massacre life under Trujillo Find images and 10 basic facts related to the assigned topic. Come back prepared your research with the class.

31 Literary concepts Theme Motif Characterization Symbolism Foreshadowing

32 The Dominican Republic and Salcedo

33 Begin a Character log for the book.
The narrator changes from chapter-to-chapter, so you are required to log important quotes and details as the plot unfolds. Read Chapter 1 (Dedé 1994 and circa 1943) aloud Ask students to look for evidence of direct and indirect characterization for Dedé. Review Direct and Indirect characterization

34  Discuss this statement:
“The Mirabal sisters are not known there, for which she is also sorry for it is a crime that they should be forgotten, these unsung heroines of the underground, et cetera.” Use context clues to define unsung heroines.

35 Anacahuita tree

36 basic characteristics of the tree
stays rooted in the ground year round despite weathering or aging Beautiful difficult to find its blossoms attract butterflies

37 Examine the following statements regarding the tree:
o “It’s just the road by the anacahuita tree. We don’t name them On the back of an envelope …she has sketched an enormous tree, laden with flowers, the branches squirreling over the flap.” o “Dedé goes on elaborating the root system of her anacahuita tree, shading the branches, and then for the fun of it, opening and closing the flap of the envelope to watch the tree come apart and then back together again.” o “She remembers a clear moonlit night before the future began. They are sitting in the cool darkness under the anacahuita tree in the front yard, in the rockers, telling stories, drinking guanabana juice.”

38 In the Time of the Butterflies
Why did Alvarez choose In the Time of the Butterflies as a title for the book? Identify any clues or examples of foreshadowing in this chapter and write about the symbolism of the anacahuita tree. Routinely list and define any new or unfamiliar words in your notebooks.

39 Homework: Use the online Spanish dictionary site, to look up definitions/translations of the following words/phrases from Part 1 of the novel: Tan afuera de la cosa pobrecita el jefe Promesa sarampión Galería Campesino brujo gavilleros guayabera Inmaculada absentia peseta Bandidos

40 Begin Chapter two Minerva 1938, 1941, and 1944
Add descriptions, quotes, and details to Minerva’s character log. Pay close attention to the significance from this passage in the beginning of the chapter: o “Sometimes, watching the rabbits in their pens, I’d think, I’m no different from you, poor things. One time, I opened the cage to set a half-grown doe free. I even gave her a slap to get her going. She wouldn’t budge! She was used to her little pen. I kept slapping her, harder each time . . .I was the one hurting her, insisting she be free. Silly bunny, I thought. You’re nothing like me at all.” “And that’s how I got free. . . I mean in my head after I got to Inmaculada I’d just left a small cage to go into a bigger one, the size of our whole country.”

41 Discuss the symbols of this passage
What do the bunny and the cage represent? What does this tell us about Minerva? Make predictions about the role Minerva will play in the story. Take notes on the following: The friendship between Minerva and Sinita What Minerva learns about Trujillo from Sinita How Trujillo became President What did Minerva mean by, “The country people around the farm say that until the nail is hit, it doesn’t believe in the hammer”? Trujillo’s relationship with Lina Lovatón The Biblical allusions in the chapter Exit Ticket: Identify a recurring symbol from the first several chapters.

42 Homework: Read and annotate the following article on Trujillo and be prepared to discuss it in class tomorrow: “Dominican Republic: Warning from Beneath the Cliff”, Time Magazine, 19

43 Assessment #1 Today, the Mirabal sisters are honored and recognized as heroines in the Dominican Republic and in parts of the world. They are symbols of courage, love, and sacrifice. Julia Alvarez paints a vivid picture of the women as individuals and not just as the legends they’ve become. Select one of the Mirabal sisters (Patria, Minerva, or Maté) and write an essay that examines her life as both an individual and a martyr. Analyze her personal/family life and her political stance against Trujillo. Finally, use evidence from the text to show how heroines, like the Mirabal sisters, are ordinary people.

44 Assessment Are heroes ordinary people or do they possess something more?

45 Audio of Chapter 3 (María Teresa, also known as Maté) 1945 to 1946
Don’t forget to add Maté to your character logs. Follow along in the written texts as you listen to the audio. Listen to both the pacing in the readers’ voice, the sound of the words, and any nuances in pronunciation. Analyze the tone of Maté’s voice. Is it formal or informal? What effect does it have on the reader? Annotate as you listen to the narration.

46 Discuss the following:
“Minerva says a soul is like a deep longing in you that you can never fill up, but you try.” “I asked Minerva why she was doing such a dangerous thing. And then, she said the strangest thing. She wanted me to grow up in a free country.” Who is Hilda and what is the significance of her relationship with Minerva? Why does Maté have to bury the diary?

47 Homework: Choose your argument and begin your outline for the first Writing Assessment. Review the following literary terms imagery and view examples from chapters 1 – 3.  Direct students to pay attention to the imagery in Chapter 4. Identify the sensory language and annotate in your notes.






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