The Characters (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Alvarez uses each of the four Mirabal sisters to demonstrate different routes to resistance against political oppression. Minerva, the next to youngest and the most passionately political of the sisters, is the most intellectually savvy. She understands that Trujillo’s oppression is part of a larger issue of patriarchy. Prevented for years from attending law school, then denied a license to practice once she earns her degree, she knows firsthand the restrictions on women in Trujillo’s dictatorship. She also understands that her own father exercises a similar authority, able to approve or withhold education for his daughters and covertly keeping his second family of daughters in poverty. She responds with passionate, often dramatic, acts. Mate, the youngest, becomes Minerva’s disciple, but not her duplicate. Mate is a romantic, drawn to resistance work by the adventure. She follows her heart, not her head, and fully commits to the underground when she falls in love with a young revolutionary. Patria, the eldest, is devout and devoted to her family. She begins to question her loyalty to Trujillo as the result of a religious crisis brought on by a stillbirth early in her marriage. Her grief leads her to question everything in which she once had faith, including God and Trujillo, but she does not join Minerva and Mate in their resistance work until years later. When her son Nelson begins to become involved, she expresses her tacit support of his cause by naming her...
(The entire section is 497 words.)
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