Study Guide

In the Time of the Butterflies Power

By Alvarez, Julia

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The main events of In the Time of the Butterflies all revolve around the imbalance of power in the island nation of the Dominican Republic under President Rafael Trujillo. One man, "the goat" himself, has all the power. Anyone who challenges it will feel his powerful wrath in short order.

The main characters in the novel challenge this vision of power. They find power in their weakness, by refusing to be dominated by Trujillo, and by visualizing a democratic nation where the people share power. Their challenge to the central power is what costs them their lives, but the change that comes around after Trujillo's death might make it worth it.

Questions About Power

  1. Who holds the utmost power in the novel?
  2. What are the tools that Trujillo and the girls use to gain power?
  3. When the family is summoned to Trujillo's party, how is power evident?
  4. Where does Trujillo's power find limits?

Chew on This

Trujillo's spies invade the sacred space of the home, a display of his infinite power.

The girls' hearts cannot be broken by Trujillo's power.

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