Short summary of “Butterflies”.

The main characters in the story are the grandmother, the grandfather and the granddaughter. In the beginning of the story the grandmother is getting her granddaughter ready for school. She is very clear in her speak to her about coming straight home after school as well as listening and do whatever her teacher says.

Afterward when her grandfather was walking her down the path, he was consonantly bragging about her to the neighbor. He was telling the neighbor about how nice she looked and how well she did it at school. When he later said goodbye, he told her the same thing as her grandmother said, “Listen to the teacher, do what she says”.

When she came home from school her grandmother and grandfather was quite interesting in hearing about her day at school. They wanted to hear about the story she had written. She told them the story “I killed all the butterflies. This is me and this is all the butterflies”. Then they asked how the teacher reacted, and if she liked it. The teacher didn't seem to like it, and explained that you simply don't kill butterflies. The grandfather then responded to the granddaughter that her teacher bought her cabbages from the supermarket, and that is why she said it.

Important information in the text

After I had read the story for the first time, I didn't understand it. Then I started reading it with a more open eye, and understood more. In the beginning of the text we can clearly see that the grandmother are taking very good care of the granddaughter. She is also very careful, and makes sure the granddaughter is going to be alright, and that she is going to fit in at school. She is consonantly telling her to listen, and do what the teacher says. That is most likely because she is not from a western country, and is trying to make her granddaughter adapt.

The grandfather is also very clear in his speech to her. He is bragging to the neighbor about how fine she looks, and how well she does it at school. He is trying to make a good impression on the people around them, so that both him and his granddaughter can fit in. When the granddaughter is leaving, he is also telling her the same thing her grandmother told her,“Come straight home from school, listen to the teacher, and do what she say”. It is very clear that both of them are doing everything they can to make her fit in to another culture.

Later on when the girl gets home, the grandmother asked “You write your story?”. By reading that line we can clearly tell that their first language aren't English. In addition to the language barrier there is also a cultural barrier that we can see in the way the grandfather reacted to the girl's story. She wrote “I killed all the butterflies. This is me and this is all the butterflies”. In western countries we are used to think of butterflies as beautiful, but as in this setting they weren't. If we think about the fact that they weren't western people, and the fact that the grandfather explains that the teacher buy all her cabbages from the supermarket, we can tell that they most likely were making their one cabbages. In that way the daughter may have been protecting the cabbages from insects, such as butterflies, and thought what she did was a good thing.

The message and theme of the story

I would say that the message of the story is the different opinions about good and bad things. When the granddaughter had written the story about the butterflies, the teacher responded that you don’t kill butterflies. She thinks of butterflies as beautiful creatures and is forbidding the girl to kill them. On the other hand, the granddaughter thinks of the butterflies as pests. They were destroying her grandfather’s cabbages, and she therefore killed them..

We can also say that the message of the story is about understanding different points of view. We don’t always know the reason for which it is a good or bad thing. Because one person thinks of it as a bad thing, we shouldn’t judge them and tell them what to do or not. What we can learn from this story is that you shouldn’t always think that your opinion is the right one, and that you have to see things from two perspectives or through some other pair of eyes.

The theme of the story is the way of understanding each other and realize that each has different aspects. This text is relevant in the way it is about culture, society and communication, which is the theme in chapter five, where the text is written. We learn about many different cultures, and how it is important to understand each other without judging or drawing conclusions.