Study Guide

In the Time of the Butterflies Sacrifice

By Alvarez, Julia

Sacrifice

The term "martyr" is a key word in the novel In the Time of the Butterflies—this novel could have easily been called In The Time of the Martyrflies (but wow, that's an awkward-sounding title). The protagonists, the Mirabal sisters, are killed for their political beliefs and actions, and become symbols for resistance to the authoritarian regime that rules their country. Go B-flies!

The sisters sacrifice their lives in the struggle for freedom. Their surviving sister, Dedé, and their mother make sacrifices in order to raise the children they leave behind. In the novel, sacrifice is the utmost value. Giving up one's own comfort, safety, and finally life, is portrayed as a selfless, admirable action.

Questions About Sacrifice

  1. Who must take care of the Butterflies' children when they are dead?
  2. What does Jaimito mean when he tells Dedé that her martyrdom is living without her sisters?
  3. When Minerva and Mate are offered a pardon in jail they refuse it. Why?
  4. Why do Pedrito and Patria fight?

Chew on This

The girls' mother makes the ultimate sacrifice because she loses almost all of her daughters.

The girls' sacrifice was for nothing because Trujillo outlived them.

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