Tuesday, February 5, 2008

one book down...two to go

Minerva, Patria, and Mary Teresa Mirabal

I just finished In the Time of the Butterflies and I really enjoyed it. Julie Alvarez is a great writer who is able to bring the Mirabal sisters alive to the reader. The book takes place during Trujillo's rule of the Dominican Republic, a time of fear and oppression. It follows the four Mirabal sisters, known as Las Mariposas or "The Butterflies" They were "symbols of defiant hope in a country shadowed by dictatorship and despair. (who) sacrificed their safe and comfortable lives in the name of freedom" according to the back of the book. The story is an inspiring tale that covers their involvement in the revolution against their dictator from the beginning to the end, when three of the sisters are murdered under the command of Trujillo.
I enjoyed this book, so I requested two books of poems, Something to Declare and Homecoming, by Alvarez from the library. With these books, I hope to start #3 in section B for my project which is "Find and read a short story, poem, or other work from one of your authors. In 2 pages, compare and contrast some of the elements between the novel and the smaller work".
In Alvarez's postscript she credits three other authors who have also written about the Mirabal sisters or the "Mariposas". One of the works was a poem "Amén de Mariposas" by Pedro Mir. I tried to look it up, but I did not find any English translations; I only found a translation of the first verse here.

"Cuando supe que habían caido las tres hermanas Mirabal me dije:
la sociedad establecida ha muerto."

"When I found out that the three Mirabal sisters had fallen I said to myself:
our established society has died."

It is a long poem, and with my limited knowledge of Spanish I was disappointed that I could not read it. If you know Spanish, here is a link to the complete Spanish version. I'll keep my blog updated as I come across more information. Overall, I highly recommend this book.