Throughout the world today, we see and hear of so many stories in so many different countries of the world where citizens are denied the most basic of rights. And what does this deprivation lead to? It leads to revolts, the conception of rebel groups, the toppling of governments infested with the germs of dictatorship, revolutions that lead to bloody massacres etc.
And then we witness how such selfless sacrifices lead to other countries coming to the rescue and liberating the wronged ones. Civil rights should & do mean the world to any person; the provision of rights ensures that a citizen will remain loyal to the government no matter what other people have to say. But when such rights are taken away, it results in disaster.
So when someone asks you why did Julia Alvarez write In the Time of the Butterflies, the essence of the answer to that question lays in the paragraph stated above. However, we shall explore it in further detail in the lines that follow.
Based on actual historical facts, Julia Alvarez’s inscription details the experiences of the Mirabel sisters who lived in the Dominican Republic during the reign of Rafael Trujillo who had based his government on the model of dictatorship. Pretentious in glorifying his self righteousness, he was a demon on the inside; a demon who would go to any extremes to stay in power and slaughter those who dared to challenge or stand up against his authority.
As is known from historical accounts, Trujillo was responsible for the death of 300,000 Haitians over a period of 30 years that he was in power for. One of his numerous agendas was to exterminate people of black descent. These people occupied more than 30% of Haiti; referred to as the Island of Hispanola.
In order to rid themselves of such apartheid which they saw happening around them every single day of their lives, the tormented started forming underground alliances with each other. Under such circumstances, the father of the Mirabel sisters also joined such an underground entity.
Four in number, each of the Mirabel sisters got inspired to join such an alliance as well. However, their respective awakening came in a different manner for each sister. In reference to the book’s title, the sisters assumed an alias “Butterfly” in order to not get caught by the intelligence agencies and chose a number for identifying themselves. The book leads the reader into the perspective of each sister.
For those who might not be aware, the Mirabel sisters were haunted, hounded, and hunted by the government agencies simply because they wanted their voices to be heard & had stood up for their rights. None but one would survive the physical & emotional damage levied unto them; the only surviving sibling was Dede who would be immensely instrumental in the creation of Julia Alvarez’s book.
Julia Alvarez happened to be present in the Dominican Republic at this point in time. And it would be within a span of 90 days since their father joined the underground uprising that 3 of the Mirabel sisters would be killed. Moved by their inspiring courage, Julia decided to write out their ordeal for the world to read. The book goes back & forth between the 1st and the 3rd person and is an epic. It has won numerous awards and honors for the story that it tells. The facts written above go on to answer the inquiry why did Julia Alvarez write In the Time of the Butterflies.