The relevance of this course in my everyday life has manifested again in the form of tying in with my English class. Lately, we have done several readings about identity and some history about the Caribbean, including watching the documentary Haiti and Dominican Republic: An Island Divided. In my English class, we recently read In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez which is also set in the Dominican Republic. While the documentary discussed Trujillo, the book focused much more on the impact of Trujillo, specifically on the Mirabal sisters (three revolutionaries who were assassinated under Trujillo’s orders and one sister that survived). Watching this documentary was interesting because the novel focused heavily on gender roles under his reign and did not focus on race or even discuss the Haitian genocide. For example, it mentions the fact that Trujillo wears makeup, but it did not explain that he wore makeup in attempt to make his skin look lighter. The makeup was only brought because Alvarez was describing Minerva Mirabal slapping Trujillo’s face after he made unwanted sexual advances (which happened in real life). The novel is important because of the light it sheds on the plight women under Trujillo, but the exclusion of the persecution of an entire people is disturbing. Both reading the novel and watching the documentary helped paint a fuller picture of the atrocities committed by Trujillo.
Alvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010.