In the Time of the Butterflies reveals the crazy amounts of violence that pervaded public and private life if you happened to live in the Dominican Republic under President Trujillo. This evil dude ruled with an iron fist. Torture was to be expected in prison, while execution was the norm for anyone who dared to resist the regime. "Nightmare" doesn't even come close.
The novel shows, though, that that violence also pervades domestic relationships. Whether it's husbands using force to control their wives or fathers violently correcting their daughters, the idea is that whoever is bigger, more powerful, and more willing to use violence wins.
Questions About Violence
Who is Mate protecting when she decides not to deliver the account of her torture to the OAS committee? Why does she do it?
What motivates each sister to take up arms against the regime?
Why doesn't the truck driver help the sisters when he sees them being led away from their car?
Why does Minerva's father hit her?
Chew on This
Trujillo's violence spreads throughout society, making it commonplace.
The sisters' violence is justified, given the context.