Family has always been one of the main topics of novels, short stories, poetry. Authors from all over the world discussed different families from different points of view. The families had different problems and habits. Moreover, authors tried to present their personal views on families when writing. Authors used different metaphors to present a family and different families to present a metaphor. Such works are the most interesting to read. It is interesting to follow an author’s mind and observe how a family is developing. Moreover, it is interesting to compare all the readings, all novels one has read and contrast them. This essay is aimed at comparing and contrasting two novels and the role of a family as a metaphor for the effect of the corrupt government in a country. For this task, I have read two novels: “In the time of the butterflies” by Julia Alvarez and “The white woman on the green bicycle” by Monique Roffey. I should admit that I found both books rather interesting. As I have already mentioned, in this essay I will compare and contrast the two novels. Hence, I will divide the essay in two parts: the first part will be dedicated to comparing the role of a family as a metaphor for the effect of corrupt government in a country and in the second part if will contrast it.
The first similar thing that came into my eye was that there are few main characters in the books. In the first book, “In the times of the butterflies” a reader meets only four main characters, whereas in the second book, there are only two of them. In the first book as well as in the second one, the main characters are a family. It is significant to mention that they all love each other and are ready to help. Another similarity is that both families live in difficult times, when every family member has to make a choice. However, in both families the members support each other, even though it does not meet their expectations.
However, in my opinion, the books have more differences than similarities. The first difference is that in the book “In the time of the butterflies” all sisters are one the one side: they are against the existing political system. Besides, since the very beginning it was clear that sisters would do everything to protect each other:
“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.” (Alvarez, 2010)
Moreover, the sisters were close not only to each other, but to their husbands as well. They struggle together, arm in arm. On the contrary, there is the Harwoods. The Harwood came to Trinidad in 1956. The events took place in 2006. The point is that Sabine and George Harwoods had different points of view on the situation in the country. Obviously, they did not support each other; hence, every partner suffered from this marriage.
In the introduction, I have mentioned that I would discuss the role of a family as a metaphor for the effect of corrupt government on a country. When speaking about corruption in a country, it may be compared to a family. When a couple (a family) lives together for a long time and there is no old time passion. One of partners become bored and tries to find someone to change the situation; someone who can provide him or her with adrenaline. The same goes for corrupted bureaucrats. They feel free to take bribes; besides, when taken additional money for a service, one feels adrenaline. Besides, a corrupted bureaucrat reminds of a “two timing” partner, who tries to save old relations and new ones. I the end, nobody is satisfied with such relations and feels frustrated. The corrupt government has the same effect: it destroys the country from inner side. On the contrary, the family in “In the times of the butterflies” shows how an incorrupt government can function. The pint is not that the members of the family love each other and support. The peculiarity of the family is that they do not have secrets from each other. When a government is corrupted, there will always be problems because every government member will be willing to hide information. As a consequence, it will badly influence not only the situation in a country, but its reputation in the world, as well.
This essay was aimed at comparing and contrasting two novels. In the essay I tried to present objective similarities and differences between the novels. Moreover, I tried to distract from the families’ image, and to provide the analysis of how a family may be used (and was used in the novels) as a metaphor for the effect of corrupt government on a country. In my opinion, Monique Roffey showed the Harwoods as a metaphor for the effect of corrupt government on a country better than Julia Alvarez did. Obviously, it is impossible to create a perfect incorrupt government. Even in the most honest governments, there will be those who will want to take bribes. The only thing that we can do it to learn how to live as a family.
Alvarez J. (2010) In the times of the butterflies. Algonquin Books