In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

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When Do Butterflies Come Out

What season do butterflies come out? How does this relate to the novel?

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Karyth Cara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Butterfly season varies depending upon what part of the world is being talked of. For example, butterfly season in the New England region of the United States is in their summer during July to August (very short), while the butterfly season in South Africa is in their autumn and winter during March to July. In the Time of the Butterflies is set in the Dominican Republic, which, like other Temperate Zone locations, has butterflies all year round with the greatest abundance during their butterfly season from April to November.

Chapter 11 of the story covers the period of time spanning March, April, May, June, July to August. This is the early part of the Dominican butterfly season, the beginning of the time of butterflies. Chapter 12 covers the months spanning August, September, October to November. This is the latter part of the Dominican butterfly season, the ending of the time of butterflies.

In Chapter 11, between March and August, María Teresa faces horrific circumstances the worst of which is that which occurs in front of her husband. Witnessing María Teresa endure the horrific pain of electrical shock, he is coerced into cooperating with Trujillo. Nonetheless, the "butterflies" triumph when, in their time, María Teresa succeeds in secretly communicating her story of torture to an inspector of the Organization of American States.

In Chapter 12, between August and November, Minerva, after being imprisoned with María Teresa, reclaims her old courage and sense of purpose. Trujillo declares that of his two remaining obstacles to complete power, one is the Mirabal sisters. Undaunted by Trujillo's psychological attacks against...

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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