"Viva la Mariposa! Tears came to my eyes. Something big and powerful spread its wings inside me" (Alvarez 238). In the Time of the Butterflies is a novel by Julia Alvarez about the Mirabal sisters who were apart of the underground movement against Trujillo. The novel is a powerful insight into the revolution, but does the movie do it justice? Though the movie gives the viewer a more detailed background of what was happening politically, the book conveys the theme and allows the reader to see the characters develop.
The movie fails to express the theme as strongly as the book but the movie does possess a strong visual component. After reading the book, the movie seems bland. The novel gives you so many strong points in the theme that are not included in the movie. Also, the movie differs drastically from the book. While the movie does keep the main events from the novel, it skips around a lot. For example, in the movie, when Mate and Minerva are in jail, and Minerva is forced to watch her husband be tortured. This does not happen in the book. In the book, Leandro is forced to watch Maria Teresa be tortured. "Still very weak, but the bleeding has stopped. I can't bear to tell the story yet. Just this-I've either bled a baby or had a period. And no one had to do a thing about it after the SIM got to me" (240). This quote is said by Mate in the novel after she had gotten back from being tortured. From this change in perspective and the excessive amount of skipping around, the movie leaves holes in the theme. When omitting certain events, it weakens the movies ability to communicate the theme to its viewers. Leaving it with what seems like, no direction. The movie is able to keep the viewers attention with a powerful visual component that is not experienced when reading the book. For example, at the end of the movie when the butterflies are taken into the field and are bludgeoned to death. Though it may seem somewhat graphic and heart wrenching to watch three revolutionaries being killed, it gives you an emotional aspect that the book does not. Even though the movie does not do the theme of the book justice, its visual component gives the reader a strong emotional characteristic. The theme of In the Time of the Butterflies is related to the historical events that occurred during the era of the Mirabal sisters.
Historical context and background is key with this story line. The novel does not give much background information and context from the political stand point, in which the story line revolves around. Throughout the book the reader starts to catch on to what little context is given, but it is not given by any means. "But really, this woman should shut car doors with less violence. Spare an aging women's nerves. And I'm not the only one, Dede thinks. Any Dominican of a certain generation would have jumped at that gunshot sound" (5). Said by Dede in the book, this is the first historical context given. Whereas,