Sample Essay Outlines
Topic #1: The Mirabal sisters and the roles of women
I. Thesis statement: The four Mirabal sisters assume contrasting roles as women that define their decisions to participate—or not—in the anti-Trujillo movement throughout In the Time of the Butterflies. Dedé and Minerva are most conflicted, while María Teresa and Patria’s participation in the movement becomes an outgrowth of their relationships.
II. The role of women in Dominican society is generally traditional and under Trujillo is particularly oppressive.
A. In the Mirabal family, the mother stays at home, and the daughters’ futures
are discussed with reference to marriage and mothering.
B. Under Trujillo, women are treated as sex objects.
a. Trujillo is known to maintain several mistresses outside his marriage.
b. Trujillo courts and changes the life of Lina Lovatón.
c. Trujillo is attracted to Minerva Mirabal and also Patria’s girl Noris.
III. Dedé chooses a traditional female role and later regrets it.
A. Dedé obeys traditional sex roles and avoids athletics, politics, and business.
B. Dedé begins a “traditional” marriage to Jaimito that compromises her beliefs.
C. Dedé must confront Jaimito about her interest in the movement, a gesture that ends up helping her troubled marriage but not saving it.
D. Dedé goes on to divorce Jaimito and to become a successful sales executive.
III. Minerva chooses an outspoken, non-traditional female role, which shifts over time.
A. Minerva is a tomboy and “daddy’s girl” who must cut the cord with her father in order to begin her own adult life.
B. Minerva is drawn to a challenging career as a lawyer and also joins the anti-Trujillo resistance.
C. Minerva’s attraction to Virgilío is conflicting for her because she wants both an intellectual and romantic connection with a mate.
D. Minerva marries a...
(The entire section is 920 words.)