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Can anyone explain the comparison in the rain, flame tree, and pearl of great...

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vaincrow | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 11, 2008 at 9:22 AM via web

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Can anyone explain the comparison in the rain, flame tree, and pearl of great price metaphors to me from "In the Time of the Butterflies"?

Can anyone explain the comparison in the rain and flame tree metaphors to me, and also explain the pearl of great price (its original biblical quote)?

I'm a junior in high school and am having trouble with an assignment.

Thanks for all your help.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 11, 2008 at 10:26 AM (Answer #1)

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The metaphor of rain appears several times throughout the book and stands for trouble or foreshadows calamity.  It first appears at the end of the idyllic scene of family when the Mirabal sisters are children, "drops of rain ...(start) falling - though the night is as clear as the sound of a bell", portending danger in the young girls' futures (Ch.1).  During the disastrous Discovery Day Dance and the time immediately after, the rain falls in torrents, "beating against the shutters, blurring the sounds inside the house", signalling the beginning of the downward surge ending in the sisters' deaths (Ch.6).

The "flame trees, their blossoms tumbling in the wind of the coming storm", signify the Mirabal and perhaps Dominican families in general.  The blossoms, in a recurring metaphor, are the sisters, or women, who are cut down in the prime of life while still retaining their beauty by the storm of Trujillo's regime (Ch.4).

The "pearl of great price" is a metaphor for the faith which Patria has long nurtured with fierce devotion, but loses when she miscarries a child (Ch.4).  The phrase is taken from the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible, Ch.13,V.45-46, and refers to the Kingdom of Heaven, which is like a pearl which is so valuable that a merchant will sell all he has to obtain it.  Patria was like that about her faith, which until that point was the unquestioned constant in her life.

Sources:

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johnsonville | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2008 at 4:04 AM (Answer #2)

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the pearl of great price is an allusion in the book and it represents that Patria would give anything to get her baby back.

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