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In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterfies is the story of Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. The three revolutionary Mirabal sisters were killed by Trujillo's National Guard in an alleged car accident in 1960 because they were fighting against Trujillo's dictatorial regime. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, nicknamed El Jefe, ruled as a dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his murder in 1961. His formula of power was simple: execute anyone who was against him. He ordered the execution of more than 50000 people during his rule. He used the National Guard to force his way into the presidency in 1931. After he became the president he organized a secret police force to help the National Guard to watch for any potential threats to his ruling. In order to have both organizations under control, he had the secret police watched on the Guard and vice-versa. The Maribal sister's fight for democracy was considered deviant by the dictator Trujillo and was punished by death because the sisters at that time became the national symbol- "Mariposa (Butterfly)"- of the civil resistance.

In the Dominican society ruled by dictator Trujillo, deviant was everything that was perceived as threatening to Trujillo's political position: printing and distributing political flyers, meetings of people at somebody's house, even talking about his politic. Deviance is a "violation of norms rules expectation" and conformity is obeying those rules, so it is the opposite. From conflict theory perspective, the group in power defines what is considered deviant. Law and the criminal justice system (the system of police, courts, and prisons set up to deal with people accused of deviance) are used by the leading group, as instruments of oppression in order to maintain its position of power and privilege. The poor and oppressed pose a threat, they can rebel as a group, and for that reason Trujillo seldom used the death penalty as a form of punishment of their deviance. Trujillo considered deviant any person that refused him, that was not submissive to him. As example, he punished Maribel's father who was arrested and tortured until he was gone insane, because Minerva refused Trujillo's indecent proposal. Her father died in three weeks. In a totalitarian society, rules are different than in a democratic society. So what is normal in a democracy: freedom of speech, liberty, is perceived as deviant in a society ruled by a dictator, who was enforcing his rules in order to protect himself and his position as a detested president.

So deviance is relative. This is a major point of the symbolic interactionist perspective. For example, Trujillo wasnt elected democratic, he fraud elections, but because he had the power, this fact wasn't considered a deviance. On the other hand, the ones demonstrating against Trujillo's crimes were arrested, tortured and killed. Everything that was perceived as a an attempt to change the dictators rules was considered deviance and it was forcefully punished, death punishment was considered "normal" and well-deserved by dictator Trujillo. For example, Virgilio Morales (LIO)was a Law teacher at University who believed in justice. When University students led by Lio , were participating to a demonstration against Trujillo, they were called :"enemies of the state, communists and subversive. Lio had to go in exile. Later he was assassinated by Trujillo's police. When Patria and Minerva were boarding students at Inmaculada Concepcion, Minerva meets Sinita Perozo, who told her how Trujillo destroyed her familykilling her uncles, her father, and her brother. Sinita who became Minerva's friend, gave her a butterfly pin as a friendship pin, as a symbol of friendship. The symbolic interactionist perspective of sociology views society as a product of everyday social interactions of individuals. Symbolic interactionists also study how people use symbols to create meaning. In studying deviance, these theorists look at how people in everyday situations define deviance. Minerva loved her friend Sinita and this was the reason she was wearing the butterfly pin all the times. While in school, Minerva and her

friends are chosen to give a recitation performance for Trujillo at the centennial celebration, but it ends bad when Sinita walks toward Trujillo's chair, taking aim at him. Sinita disappeared after that incident, nobody heard about her anymore. Minerva loved her friend Sinita and this was the reason she was wearing the butterfly pin all the times. Later the Butterfly/ Mariposa became her conspiracy name and a symbol of belonging to the civil resistance group. When Mirabel was in prison a female guardian gave her in secret food and a butterfly sign. That simple sign gave Mirabel hopes because the butterfly sign was a message that she is not alone, and that the civil resistance is watching over her. Another time when she was in prison, she saw through the prison tiny window a flag with a butterfly design flapping in the wind that was giving hope to her and to the other politic prisoners. The Butterfly also symbolize the metamorphose of the Maribel and her sisters, from the traditional role of Dominican women to the active revolutionary role of a militant for democracy and liberty. General Trujillo thought that killing Mariposa's syster, he will kill the symbol of the resistance fight. The result was opposite. More and more Dominicans formed rebel groups or joined existing ones. At the beginning the rebels were poor peasants but later businessmen, professors, students, and even some priests joined too. The brutal violence and crushing repression that Trujillo continued to use against his own people began to backfire, however. He was assassinated in 1961.

The Maribal sister's fight for democracy was considered deviant by the dictator Trujillo and was punished by death because the sisters at that time became the national symbol of the civil resistance and fight for democracy. In the Dominican society ruled by dictator Trujillo, deviant was everything that was perceived as threatening to Trujillo's political position the group in power defines what is considered deviant. Law and the criminal justice were used by the leading group, as instruments of oppression in order to maintain its position of power and privilege.