The real Dede Mirabal.
Almost Home - Craig Morgan
p. 199 “Even now, Dede hears her sister, reciting that poem she wrote in jail, herh voice raspy with the cold she never got rid of that last year. And the shades of night began to fall, and the traveler hurries home, and the campesino bids his field farewell… No wonder Dede has confused Minerva’s exercise and her poem about the falling of night with the sleepness night before their first trip to the capital. A dark night was falling, one of a different order from the large, soft, kind ones under the anacahuita tree… the center of hell, maybe, the premonition of which made Dede draw closer to Jaimito until she, too, finally fell asleep.”
A sad, nostalgic, longing for a previous experience emerges as a theme in Dede’s life and characterization, especially in her memories of the sisters. Both this quote and song look back on a happier memory in their lives, and the landscapes described seem idyllic, almost too good to be true. Here a connection is seen to the idea of narrative truth studied earlier in the year, where each character’s memory seems to serve a different purpose for themselves - each truth is subjective. Dede looks back on the sentimentality and safety of these memories and notes the contrast between the then (childhood) and now (revolution), using it to change her ideology once again, drawing closer to Jaimito for safety. Dede definitely flits back and forth in feelings towards Jaimito in this book, clearly effected by the bigger events and central conflicts in the story.
Red Ragtop - Tim McGraw
p. 196 “It was odd to be riding in the pickup, the dark road ahead, a slender moon above, holding hands, as if they were young lovers again, discussing weddign lans. Dede half expected Minerva and Lio to pop up in the back. The thought stirred her, but not for the usual reason of lost opportunity recalled. Rather, it was because that time now seemed so innocent of this future. Dede fought down a sob that twisted like a rope in her gut. She felt that if she let go, the whole inside of her would fall apart.”
This song and Dede’s thoughts during this time are definitely correlated, both in a sense of nostalgia, fondly remembering an easier time, and the sadness to see it end. Because of all the turmoil in Dede’s life at this point, she longs for the innocence and flighty experiences of her adolescence, where her biggest problem was fighting for a boyfriend with her sister, Minerva. Both the section of the book and this song are tinged with regret, a longing for what they let go, but also hold their memories and experiences so close to the heart that they will never be forgotten, and they create the person they are today. Dede holds onto these things and uses them to make herself stronger in fighting for her sisters in the future.
p. 193 “Finally, Dede reached Minerva at Manolo’s mother’s house. How relieved Dede felt to hear her voice. It was then she realized that after all her indecisiveness, she had never really had a choice. Whether joined their underground or not, her fate was bound up with the fates of her sisters. Sheh would suffer whatever they suffered. If they died, she would not want to go on living without them.”
Dede here realizes just how much she loves and cares for her sisters and her entire family. Here, she takes on her own independence, free of what her husband thinks, and joins her family in their fight for justice. This shows some growth in her character, allowing her to think for herself and her loyalties, not just her husband’s. Dede is growing into a free-thinker instead of an obedient housewife, one that has an impact on the rest of the story to come.
Get Busy Living — Goldfish
p. 180 “She would leave him. Next to that decision, attending the underground meeting over at Patria’s was nothing but a small step after the big turn had been taken. All week she refined the plan for it…She savored her secret, which tasted deliciously of freedom.”
Dede Mirabal definitely undergoes a little bit of a transformation in this part of the book - while she doesn’t go through with what she’s claiming she will, she does change from a reserved girl who always knew her place to a fiesty, more energetic and outgoing woman who goes after what she wants. After this realization, she’s much more apt to go after what she wants and speak her opinion, even in the face of her entire family. She knows she wants to make a change, is unsure of what it is, but takes steps to reach her goals. In the words of Goldfish, “I don’t want to live like I’ve already lived, But i do wanna get busy livin’.”
Butterflies - the alias for the Mirabal Sisters, all four of them. The code used to identify themselves to others attempting to take down Trujillo.
p. 198 “Tell the butterflies to avoid the Puerto Plata. It’s not safe.’ The butterflies, Lord God, how people romanticized other people’s terror!”
p. 67 “Her cousing Jaimito will be there. They have known each other all their lives, been paired and teased by their mothers since the two babies were placed in the same playpen during family gatherings. But in the last few weeks, something has been happening. All that had once annoyed Dede about her spoiled, big-mouthed cousin now seems to quicken something in her heart. And whereas before, her mother’s and Jaimito’s mother’s hints were the intrusion of elders into what was none of their business, now it seems the old people were perceiving destiny. If she marries Jaimito, she’ll continue in the life she has always been very happy living.”
This picture accurately depicts Dede’s recollections and hopes for her relationship with Jaimito. She remembers being together from the very start, and hopes to transition from the playfulness of childhood to the romance and passion of young adulthood and then into the comfort and companionship that comes with old age. The three photos combined into one illustrates changing points in their relationship, but the close up of the last photo, the one that would most likely show off imperfections, also shows that the last section of their lives, different from the first two, would not grow into what Dede had hoped.
Memories (by cesium-)
p. 5 “There are the three pictures of the girls, old favorites that are now embhlazoned on the posters every november, making these once intimate snapshots seem too famous to be the sisters she knew.”
This photo is a symbol of the pictures of the Mirabal sisters that Dede keeps in her house to keep the memory of their family alive. While the horrors of that time do serve to haunt her, the photos of her family feed her nostalgia and give her a sense of comfort. They give the impression of the average family, reminding Dede of what they used to be.
The question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I, or the others crazy?
Albert Einstein (via inloveewithlovee)
While I do not have a specific quote from the book to relate to this one, I do believe that this directly relates to Dede’s life and challenges in the book. When Dede is faced with the realization that her entire family is working to bring down the regime of Trujillo despite the fact that it is dangerous to even think such a thought, she is faced with the opportunity to join them in this work - she’s even asked to persuade her husband. She is morally conflicted and scared, obviously, and the situation is even more convoluted when her sisters are astonished at her not so sudden response. Here, Dede looks at her sisters and their extended families and wonders if she should join - if they are all uniting against one thing that will end well. She also wonders if Jaimito, her husband, will be on board, and she doubts that it will happen. She is torn between two sides, but she questions herself and her motives, not those of the people around her. Here shows her internal struggle, wondering if her purpose and path through life is really manifesting itself the way she wants it, or if she’s crazy in these dreams to everyone else. On the other hand, she also believes that she may also be the only sane one, the only one that refuses to confront a very powerful regime. Dede is full of confusion at this point in the story.
Friday night, 1943 – I’m to be a millionaire, really? Oh goodness, I can’t wait. That’s what papa says, but what about Patria and Maria Teresa and Minerva?
p. 10 “As Dede is helping her father step safely up the stairs of the galleria, she realizes that hers is the only future he really told. Maria Teresa’s was a tease, and Papa never got to Minerva’s or Patria’s on account of Mama’s disapproval. A chill goes through her, for she feels it in her bones, the future is now beginning. By the time it is over, it will be the past, and she doesn’t want to be the only one left to tell their story.”
This entry and quote foreshadow the idea of Dede being the sole survivor of this Dominican dictatorship’s wiles. Without even realizing it, Dede seals her own fate. She is already secluding herself from her three sisters in her actions of speaking up in a playful tone against her father, and forming a divide between them, one that will lead to her eventual survival when all others meet death. Her being stuck in her ways at an early age establishes the character of Dede, one who “serves as a hard shoe for a soft foot” (8), a hard thinker and deviant even as a child.
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