The Significance Of Gender Roles In Julia Alvarez's Novel In The Time Of The Butterflies

849 words - 3 pages

Out from the kitchen and into the world, women are making a better name for themselves. Although humankind tends to be male dominated, men are not the only species that inhabit the world that they live on. In Julia Alvarez's novel In the Time of the Butterflies, the women of the Dominican Republic are expected to grow up to be housewives and lacking a formal education. Women may be cherished like national treasures, but they are not expected to fulfill their truest potentials as human beings.

Like most things in the world, they have their place. A man's place is to get their education and to get a substantial job that would bring in the money for his family. Women were not expected to attend school or to get a job that exceeded from a housewife or a housekeeper. When Minerva tells her family that she aspires to become a lawyer, her Mother does not take her seriously. "'Ay, Dios mio, spare me. ... Just what we need, skirts in the law'" (10)! It is because women like Minerva do not typically think of doing a job that involve family or cleaning, the dream is laughable. The implication is that women studying law is considered "out-of-place." Therefore, stating that women are not expected to desire or be capable of doing something that a man can.

Women are not only assumed to only take care of their family, but to not have the education that they do rightfully deserve. Women can contribute to the world as plentiful and gloriously as men can, but the chances are not given to them. For example, when Minerva tells Trujillo that she dreams of attending the University to study law, he replies "'The University is no place for a woman these days'" (99). Trujillo implies that by going to school to heighten her education, it would be pointless. It also implies that for a gender that will only be spending their time around the house, a formal education would hold no significance. It brings up the question: what would a woman that only has a future to be a housewife or housekeeper do with an education? By not taking a woman seriously when she wants to attend school shows that it will be highly likely that an education would be of irrelevant use.

It is because women are not granted the same opportunities as men, they grow up with the thought of what they should not do implanted into their minds. When women cannot...

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