Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

In the Time of the Butterflies Historical Context and Themes.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "In the Time of the Butterflies Historical Context and Themes."— Presentation transcript:

1 In the Time of the Butterflies Historical Context and Themes

2 Julia Alvarez: Life Born in the US in 1950 Returned to Dominican Republic with family at 3 months old Fled DR in 1960 with parents at age 10 when her father participated in coup to overthrow Trujillo

3 Julia Alvarez: Writing Atlantic Unbound Interview, 2000 “I know with the Mirabal sisters I felt a measure of responsibility to tell their story. They were the four sisters who were sacrificed to the regime, whereas my sisters and I made it safely to this country. It was also a desire to understand my parents' generation, who fell victim to the dictatorship -- la generación perdida (the lost generation), as they are known in the Dominican Republic -- so much talent, so much energy and faith, so many lives gone to waste. I needed to understand and to redeem the time for myself.”

4 Julia Alvarez: Writing and Cultural Differences between US & DR Interview, 1998 Q: A more important cultural difference between the United States and the Dominican Republic, where you were born, is the way that each culture views its writers — particularly its women writers. You’ve said that after your first novel, “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents,” was published, your mother didn’t talk to you for several months. Why was that? A:I think it was for a variety of reasons. A lot had to do with the fact that I come from a culture in which women were not encouraged to speak up. Maxine Hong Kingston was very helpful to me. She begins “The Woman Warrior” by saying: “My mother told me never, ever to repeat this story.” That was such an eye-opener, because that’s the way with many of my stories. No “once upon a time” or any of those catch phrases. I come from a culture where women are not encouraged to speak. [Instead, they are encouraged] to keep their mouths shut, to keep things in the family, to be the guardian of the stories and to be very careful who they’re released to. It’s a way of understanding that stories are powerful. You know, in the world we lived in, people “got disappeared” for saying the wrong thing. What people said mattered. I was raised in that world, and suddenly here I am — a woman with a voice in another language, one that we’re supposed to keep things from, you know, the gringos and the Americans. And I have a voice and I’m saying things about women and women’s experience which are not nice. That women have mouths and needs and bodies and problems and breakdowns and all of the stuff that is not nice to admit and certainly not to the [Americans].

5 In the Time of the Butterflies: Historical Fiction Historical fiction is a story that takes place during an actual period in history There is some creative license pertaining to the truth and sometimes the author appeals to the emotional truth versus the entire factual reality Much of Butterflies is grounded in fact; but some parts are bits of legend

6 Butterflies: What gave them that special courage? From Butterflies: A Postscript “It was to understand that questions that I began this story. But as happens with any story, the characters took over, beyond polemics and facts. They became real to my imagination. I began to invent them.”

7 Dominican Republic

8 Dominican Republic: Trujillo Born to lower middle class family in San Cristobol 1916: the US sent Marines to occupy island and protect economy Trujillo was a cadet in Dominican Army; during US occupation he was trained by Marines By 1925, he was army’s commander in chief

9 Trujillo 1930: President Horacio Vasquez resigned after a revolt against his government Trujillo ran an unopposed election Ran DR for next 3 decades as an Absolute Dictator

10 Impact of Trujillo as Ruler Dominican people suffered from deprivation and repression Critics suffered torture, imprisonment, loss of property 1937: Order massacre of thousands of unarmed Haitians living in the DR to racially homogenize the DR, avenge old tensions with Haiti, and establish firm control of borders

11 Impact of Trujillo as Ruler 1950s The DR faced criticism from Dominicans and other countries June 14, 1959: Castro and Dominicans exiled to Cuba led a failed invasion of the DR Trujillo tried to assassinate Venezuelan President Betancourt, which fueled tensions between DR and other countries Organization of American States (OAS) voted to sever ties with DR and impose economic sanctions on country

12 Underground Movement in DR Gained momentum in late 50s and early 60s The 14 th of June Movement helped conspirators gain momentum; however when there was a plot to assassinate “El Jefe”, "Hundreds were rounded up by SIM agents and dragged to La Cuarenta to be tortured in the electric chair, and then thrown naked into the La Victoria prison... The beautiful Mirabel sisters, Maria Teresa and Minerva, were arrested along with their husbands, two of the leaders of the June 14th Movement.” Mirabel sisters murdered on November 25, 1960 and is the signal of the end for Trujillo Trujillo was assassinated six months after murder of Mirabels

13 Mirabel Sisters

14 Catholicism in DR Patron Saint of DR : Virgin of La Altagracia, the Virgin of the Highest Grace Today –estimated 7.6 baptised Catholics in DR 1960 – Trujillo accused five Catholic priests of conspiracy and creating bombs for the Anti-Trujillo Movement; two of them were deported Pastoral letter from Church criticizing Trujillo’s mass murder Mention of many saints in Butterflies Saint Bernadette: pious youth who was told by the Virgin Mary to dig in mud until healing water appeared Saint Dominic: known for idea that communities should be centered in the church

15 Gender Roles in the DR While women in the DR have equal rights today, including the right to have property, the expectations of women in the 1960s was different. Struggle for women to get an education (like Minerva in Butterflies) Men praised for “machismo” Women expected to fulfill traditional role of caretaker and expected to look other way at infidelity of husbands, etc. Beautiful women praised and Virgin Mary is the idealized figure for women Today there is an increase in the number of women in the workforce and women as head of household

Download ppt "In the Time of the Butterflies Historical Context and Themes."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google