Without a Voice Shattering the silence about silence

Table of Contents


Silenced. By: Madelyn Strausbaugh

An Original Art Piece

News 10 By: Maggie Hunter


By: Maddie Myers

An Original Art Piece

Branching out of the silence By: Abby Benedict

An Original Art Piece

Works Cited


31 years. That's 372 months, 11,315 days, 271,560 hours, and 16,293,600 minutes. That's how long the people of the Dominican Republic suffered under the devastating rule of Rafael Trujillo. Throughout the book In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, silence is represented through the dictatorship of Trujillo and the oppression that government placed on its citizens. Another way the silence was demonstrated was through the gender roles required of the people. In the novel, characters were able to defy the silence through rebellious actions, and the support of the Catholic Churches and their own religions. Trujillo reigned for 31 years and during this time, oppression and silence played a huge role in his dictatorship. The views of the Dominican Republic at that time, were that men were superior and had more opportunities than women. This also provided a sense of silence over woman and their own voices. To break the standards, citizens created a rebellion to overthrow their abusive dictator, and at the core of this rebellion there was a mixture of both men and women destroying the culture’s original thoughts of gender roles. Through the support of the Catholic Church, many were given the hope and encouragement they needed to take action against the regime.

The purpose of this literary magazine is to evaluate and judge how the citizens of abusive governments are silenced and how they overcome it. This purpose will be shown through three original and unique art pieces that challenge your thinking and open your eyes to the importance of this matter. There is also an informative newscast that shows a real life example of how gender roles continue to affect the lives of many people all over the world. We hope that through this magazine you can see how even though governments try to silence their people, the will power of the country allows everyone to find their voice.

Silenced. - by: Madelyn Strausbaugh

Many places across the globe are under dictatorships or strict government rule. The citizens of these places do not have a voice to share their opinions or ideas. If they decide to take action, they are in for a rude awakening. The government abuses its power by silencing people who disagree with them. I used color, a metaphor, and symbolism in my artistic product to represent this reality.

I decided to use black and white as the color theme for my drawing. These simplistic colors are supposed to set a more serious tone about the issue. The lives that are controlled by these higher authorities are dull due to oppression. People feel lifeless and powerless without being allowed to have a voice.

There is also a metaphorical element used. In the drawing a woman is being silenced. The hands are covering her mouth so she cannot say anything. This compares to how a government silences its citizens. Many people's thoughts and ideas are shut down and disapproved whether it be by small warnings or other more harsh circumstances.

The last element I used was symbolism. I took a more literal approach by having a person actually being silenced. The ring on the finger represents that the person doing the silencing has more power. This drawing symbolizes the harsh reality of what has been happening around the world and what is still happening now.

Higher authorities abuse their power and silence anyone who gets in their way. When the Dominican Republic was under Trujillo’s rule, people were punished if they printed a word wrong in the newspaper or said something rude about their dictator. Currently, places such as North Korea and Zimbabwe are still under a dictatorship. People are tortured and killed if they try to defy the system. Through creating this piece I have had a better understanding of what awful things these higher powers can do and I have gained admiration for the people who are trying to stop them.

Works cited

"Rafael Trujillo." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

"Top 10 Worst Living Dictators." Listverse. N.p., 24 June 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

News 10 - by: Maggie Hunter

Works Cited

"Gender Roles in Hispanic Culture | NLCATP.org." NLCATPorg. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

"Gendered Cultural Norms in the Dominican Republic." Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

"Pitlane Magazine." Pitlane Magazine RSS. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Unchained ReBel- by: Maddie Myers

My topic was rebellion and I chose to draw something as my artistic product. For my piece, I drew a girl walking away from a pair of broken chains. The chains represent the silence from Trujillo and how he would take away their freedom. The girl represents how the people fought through the silence, eventually rebelling and his advisors turned their backs on him. I chose to draw a girl walking away from chains because it represented how, in Trujillo’s reign of the Dominican Republic, the people were silenced and they then rebelled.

To represent the silence, I used symbolism. The symbol I chose was chains. I used this because I knew that when someone is silenced--in the scenario that my group is talking about-- they usually don’t have a choice in what they do, hence chains. You can’t move, depending on how you are chained up. That is where it represents how they don’t have a choice in what they do. This relates to Trujillo because he killed many Haitian immigrants and they had no choice. He also ruled with an iron fist in many other ways. He took land from poor people to build his sugar plantations. This is what I was representing with the chains.

To represent the actual rebellion part, I again used symbolism. I made the chains broken and I drew a girl walking away from them. The chains being broken represents the action of rebelling, much like the people of the Dominican Republic did when they assassinated Trujillo. The girl walking away from the chains represents the people being free after his dictatorship was over. They eventually changed their form of government so that another dictatorship wouldn’t be formed again.

I also used color to represent the differences between silence and rebellion. The girl is very colorful, while the chains are in pencil. I did this to show the depressing effects of silence in the chains. I showed the wonderful effects of freedom in the bright colors I used for the girl’s clothes. I felt this comparison would really dramatize the piece and put a message out there.

In conclusion, I drew this piece to show the silence of the Dominican Republic during Trujillo’s reign, and how they rebelled against it. All in all, I found Trujillo to be one of the world’s most ruthless rulers. He didn’t seem to care about anyone and that was what brought him to his demise. Advice for future rulers, don’t follow in this man’s footsteps.

Works Cited

"Dominican Republic - THE ERA OF TRUJILLO." Dominican Republic - THE ERA OF TRUJILLO. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016. <http://countrystudies.us/dominican-republic/11.htm>.

"Rafael Trujillo Orders the Parsley Massacre: 1937." Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 3: Central and South America, Gale, 2014. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/LVJQKR285753447/SUIC?u=ofa25993&xid=d34da4f0. Accessed 19 Dec. 2016.

"Timeline: Dominican Republic." BBC News. BBC, 28 May 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2016. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1217771.stm>.

Branching out the silence - by: Abby Benedict

The art piece “Branching Out of the Silence”, represents the idea that just as a tree has strong roots and offers protection to those who dwell underneath it, religion also offers support and protection to those who come to it. In this painting there are several artistic elements used to help lead to the overall deeper meaning.

The first element used is symbolism. The main focus of the piece, the tree, is there to symbolize religion, specifically Christianity and the branch of Catholicism. This technique was used to allow the viewers to make the connection between the similar characteristics of a tree and religion, and to see the importance of religion in an area oppressed by silence. Just as a tree is strong and has out stretched “hands” to cover the things in it and under it, the Catholic Church is just as strong and also provides that same covering. In the Dominican Republic religion is a very major part of the society and culture. Roman Catholics make up the majority of those who consider themselves religious in this region, and although the country does not have an official religion, in 1954 a concordat was signed between the two.

To continue to add a deeper meaning to the piece, a metaphor was added through the use of birds flying to the tree. These birds are just like the people who live in a region darkened with silence. Just as a flock of birds would rely on a tree for housing and comfort, the people in these types of situations would also rely on a stable religious environment to give them a sense of hope and life.

Lastly, to tie everything together, the artistic element of color blending was used to help show the defiance against silence that the church provided the people with. When the Dominican Republic was under the rule of a fierce dictator, Trujillo, the church switched sides from supporting the government to supporting the people. The church was soon considered an “active opponent” of the government and its abuse of the people. The blending of the green from around the tree to the brown dead desert that is everywhere else is there to show the slow defiance and breaking of the silence that the church supported and helped.

As we see through the painting and the history of the Dominican Republic, a strong grounded faith and religion in an area can break any oppression and silence placed on the citizens, offering protection from the oppressors, just like a strong rooted tree standing out and offering freedom to all those who come to it.

Works Cited

"Dominican Republic." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

"Global Nonviolent Action Database." Global Nonviolent Action Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

"The Catholic Church and Trujillo." The Catholic Church and Trujillo — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Works Cited

"Dominican Republic." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

"Rafael Trujillo." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

"Top 10 Worst Living Dictators." Listverse. N.p., 24 June 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.


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