In The Time Of The Butterflies

871 words - 4 pages

Rafael Trujillo’s rule over the Dominican Republic is considered one of the bloodiest era’s in history. Responsible for the deaths of over 30,000 people, Trujillo became infamous for his tyrannical reign. The four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, along with friends and family, were activists in the revolution to overthrow Trujillo. Affected by his harsh dictatorship, changes in Maria Teresa’s character are evident in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. Although Maria Teresa’s cautiousness and sensitivity remain constant during the revolution of the Trujillo Era, her consideration for others weakens.
Living in a dangerous era, Maria Teresa’s cautiousness further develops as Trujillo’s reign strengthens. Growing up, Maria Teresa is very cautious about her actions and people. After watching her sisters and mother struggle with their relationships with men, she grows cautious and careful of men. She admits in her diary on January 10th, 1954, “ I know I’m taking a very good look around before I close my eyes and fall in true love” (Alvarez 123). Afraid of being hurt, Maria Teresa refuses to devote herself to a man before she is certain that she will be free from danger. Later in her life, she applies this philosophy to the revolution and Trujillo. While in prison, she only writes in her diary at certain times to ensure her safety from the prison guards and SIM. She shares in her diary on April 2nd, 1960, “As a consequence, there have been extra guards patrolling the hall outside out cell, so I didn’t dare write until tonight” (Alvarez 237). Maria Teresa is not only concerned about her own safety, but she is careful not to act out upon Trujillo’s enforcers. She is fully aware that any mistake she makes could result in serious consequences, or worse, her own death.
Maria Teresa’s emotional sensitivity is consistent from her younger years throughout the revolution. The youngest of four sisters, Maria Teresa grows up as a very emotional girl. Her feelings are hurt easily, and cries often. While at Immaculada Concepción, her peers grab her diary and begin to play keep away with it. After they are done, the girls laugh at Maria Teresa, as if it is foolish for her to keep a diary. Maria Teresa admits she is emotionally sensitive on December 15h, 1945, when she writes: “...I always cry when people laugh at me” (Alvarez 31). Although it was a silly game, Maria Teresa was embarrassed and upset about her diary being played with. Her sensitivity is only further developed when she is in prison. Emotionally and...

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