"In the Time of the Butterflies," Vocabulary from Part 1

November 26, 2013
Julia Alvarez's "In the Time of the Butterflies" follows the four brave Mirabal sisters as they seek to overthrow the corrupt Trujillo government in the Dominican Republic.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Epilogue
Now after thirty-four years, the commemorations and interviews and presentations of posthumous honors have almost stopped, so that for months at a time Dede is able to take up her own life again.
Then, the big celebration over at the museum, the delegations from as far away as Peru and Paraguay, an ordeal really, making that many little party sandwiches and the nephews and nieces not always showing up in time to help.
In Greek, "an" means "without" and "onoma" means "name"--"anonymous" means "having no known name or identity or known source."
Doesn’t she have seven more months of anonymity?
Otherwise, they go on and on, asking the most impertinent questions.
The Latin "verus" means "true" and the adjective "veritable" emphasizes the noisiness of the gratitude--some of which sounds like nonsense to Dede.
There is a veritable racket of gratitude on the other end, and Dede has to smile at some of the imported nonsense of this woman’s Spanish.
On the back of an envelope left beside the museum phone, she has sketched an enormous tree, laden with flowers, the branches squirreling over the flap.
Why, they inevitably ask in one form or another, why are you the one who survived?
There are the three pictures of the girls, old favorites that are now emblazoned on the posters every November, making these once intimate snapshots seem too famous to be the sisters she knew.
She still feels guilty about not continuing Mama’s tribute of a fresh blossom for the girls every day.
Over the woman’s shoulder, she sees she has left the door to her room ajar, her nightgown flung with distressing abandon on her bed.
My niece Minou tells me I am doing some transcending meditation, something like that.
Especially—though he doesn’t say this—if she’s going to censor the clairvoyance of his several glasses of rum.
She stresses the verb confessing as if their father were actually being pious in looking ahead for his daughters.
Immaculate Conception
It was as if I had just heard Jesus had slapped a baby or Our Blessed Mother had not conceived Him the immaculate conception way.
Sinita grabbed her towel and soap dish from her night table and joined the exodus.
A strange other-worldly light suffuses the house smelling of labor and sanctity.
We looked blithely at the road ahead, quadruplet angels.
Ramfis looked intently at Sinita, who glared right back at him.
The Eucharist is a Christian ceremony in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed to remember the Last Supper and Christ's death.
I started noting the deadness in Padre Ignacio’s voice, the tedium between the gospel and communion, the dry papery feel of the host in my mouth.
All I can think of is the picture in our Catechism of a valentine with measles.
I told her that if I was going to commit a Mortal sin, as lying to a religious can’t be Venial, the least Minerva could do was tell me what I was risking my immortal soul for.
I resolve to be diligent with my tasks and not fall asleep when I say my prayers.
This time I’m inaugurating my patent leather shoes and a baby blue poplin dress with a little jacket to match.
She is not coming back until after the Virgencita’s feast day on the 21st as her whole family is making the pilgrimage to Higuey.
Pedrito just cracks his knuckles and consoles her by saying that they can have another one real soon.
The nuns closed themselves up in their convent for their yearly mortifications in honor of the crucifixion of their bridegroom and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Sor Asuncion said, as if she had asked a question and I was tarrying in my answer.
Papa had said we must wait until I was seventeen, but he consented to giving me those three days of dispensation.
Snug in my heart, fondling my pearl, I had ignored their cries of desolation.
The poor innocent would be stuck in limbo all eternity!
We joked about all the commemorative marches and boring speeches we had been spared by leaving this particular weekend.
We sang, told stories, reminisced about this or that.
Mama intervened before those two could get into one of their fights.
I felt a tremor of excitement, as if I were about to meet an estranged friend with whom I longed to be reconciled.
The question echoes a line from the Bible when Jesus was on the cross and cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
She would not tell me, but when I guessed, “Another woman?” she sighed, and then said, “Ay, Virgencita, why have you forsaken me?”

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