Friday, May 13, 2005

Nature Metaphors in "Butterflies"

One thing that I always look for, and which always gives me a delightful little thrill, is when I read about how nature is used as a metaphor in a story. In the Time of the Butterflies has plenty of these. The first one I already described in the post below, about the acaquita tree. This one is about planting flowers.

Dede's sisters, Minerva, "Mate" and Patria have come to appeal to her to join their communist cell. They love their sister, and they want her to be a part of what they believe is one of the most important events of their lives, and of their country's history. Dede is hesitant, because she knows her husband is adamantly against it. As her sisters pull out of the driveway on their way home, Dede goes to the newly dug up area of the garden where she is planting new flowers. She puts the soil back into the earth, then she patches up the bed with rocks lined neatly as a border. As she is patching up this flowerbed, she decides on how she will proceed, and she is satisfied that both the flowerbed and her mind has been made up. And then, she realizes that she forgot to put the seeds in the soil.

What do the seeds represent? I'm not sure at this point, but I will guess that it's her desire, or her determination. To me, this whole sequence of imagery represents Dede's eagerness to help resolve the problem and please everyone, but she will fail because the most important ingredient was left out.

I'll continue reading and see what happens.

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