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What literary devices are found in the book "In the Time of the Butterflies"?

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eetho | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 8, 2008 at 6:48 AM via web

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What literary devices are found in the book "In the Time of the Butterflies"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:02 AM (Answer #1)

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The text is rife with literary devices.  It is ironic that the Mirabals find their revolutionary roots at a sheltered religious school, and that Minerva is allowed to go to law school, only to find that she can not get a license to practice when she is done.  A master of ironic observaion, Minerva quips about Benefactor's Day that they should "go celebrate at the cemetery" (Ch.3).

Examples of the allusion include references to the "Merciful Mother" (Ch.3) and "the Good Shepherd (and) his lambs" (Ch.4).

The motif of rain foreshadows ominous events.  When Dede describes an idyllic childhood scene, "drops of rain" begin to fall in a sky that is otherwise "clear as...a bell", indicating that the days innocence are ending (Ch.1).  When Patria prays for guidance in choosing the course of her life, "the first zigzag of lightning, and...the rumble of thunder" in the distance portend that her life will be fraught with disaster (Ch.4), and during the fateful Discovery Day Dance, rain comes down in torrents, "hard, slapping sheets of it" (Ch.6).

Flowers are symbolic of women, with Dede busily tending the blooms in her house just as she nurtures the memories of her sisters (Ch.1).  A general says, "young ladies are the flowers of our country" (Ch. 6), and Patria senses upcoming calamity for the Mirabal sisters when she sees "blossoms tumbling in the wind of the coming storm" (Ch.4).


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