In The Time Of The Butterflies Summary

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Julia Alvarez’s novel In The Time of the Butterflies tells the story of the Mirabel sisters, yet not just the story but more importantly, the curated story of the three heroines by their surviving sister, Dedé. Through the use of historical fiction, Alvarez highlights the notion of instability in both history and memory. Making the reader question how history is formed and how reliable or accurate that history to be. Dedé’s story and her last chapter in particular express such notions. Dedé, still coping with the sudden loss of her sisters, struggles to deal with and properly address the death of her sisters. Dedé experiences a sense of disjointedness after the death of her sisters. This anxiety and feeling of disruption stems not only from the loss of her sisters but also from the fact that she is unable to find where she fits into the history of her sisters, experiencing an anxiety of identity. This same incoherent and disjointed narrative of the entire story ties into both trauma and feminist theory. Applying Whitehead’s theory of trauma literature shows how this trauma for Dedé is represented while Gilbert and Gubar’s theory of “anxiety of authorship” explains the root of her trauma. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, in their essay, “Infection In The Sentence: The Woman Writer and The Anxiety of Authorship” use Harold Bloom’s theory of “anxiety of influence" to suggest that the woman writer experiences an “”anxiety of authorship’” (page). Harold Bloom first coined
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