The Significance of Gender Roles in Julia Alvarez's Novel In the Time of the Butterflies

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Out from the kitchen and into the world, women are making a better name for themselves. Although humankind tends to be male dominated, men are not the only species that inhabit the world that they live on. In Julia Alvarez's novel In the Time of the Butterflies, the women of the Dominican Republic are expected to grow up to be housewives and lacking a formal education. Women may be cherished like national treasures, but they are not expected to fulfill their truest potentials as human beings. Like most things in the world, they have their place. A man's place is to get their education and to get a substantial job that would bring in the money for his family. Women were not expected to attend school or to get a job that exceeded from a…show more content…
It brings up the question: what would a woman that only has a future to be a housewife or housekeeper do with an education? By not taking a woman seriously when she wants to attend school shows that it will be highly likely that an education would be of irrelevant use. It is because women are not granted the same opportunities as men, they grow up with the thought of what they should not do implanted into their minds. When women cannot get an education or get a job like the men can, they feel that their only place truly is in the kitchen with the children. In some cases, men tell their female significant others that it is only them who can say what goes. This point is exemplified when Jaimito criticizes the lives of Dede's sisters saying "the Mirabal sisters liked to run their men, that was the problem. In his house, we was the one to wear the pants" (176-177). Males were always seen as the dominant and that was how they expect to keep it. They refuse to let their power be taken away by the opposite gender that is believed to be the weaker of the sexes. With this thought in mind, women hold back or reluctantly accept what fate they have for them. They believe it to the point where they agree that their place is below the men. This point is proven when Patria tells her sister "It's a dirty business, you're right. That's why we women shouldn't be involved" (51). This shows readers the submissive side of a woman that all were
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