In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

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Explain the organization of In the Time of the Butterflies in terms of narrative structure. What does Alvarez accomplish by organizing the novel in this manner?

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Rebecca Karli eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What's so interesting about Alvarez's choice to alternate chapters from the different points of view of the three butterfly sisters is that, although the stories are fictitious (though inspired by three real sisters known as "Las Mariposas"), their narratives are also extremely realistic and powerful in that they convey how three very different women could somehow end up fighting together in a revolution.

Minerva, the middle child, is the most adventurous and headstrong of the Maribal sisters. From the beginning, she describes a feeling of "being caged" and needing to spread her wings. While in Catholic school, she learns from her classmates about the atrocities that Trujillo has committed, and she very quickly gets caught up in planning a revolution. It is quite obvious that Minerva has a natural inclination to rebel and fight for the rights of others against an authoritarian regime.

However, it is much less obvious why her sisters, who have different goals and motives, ultimately join...

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