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How does Dede change throughout the novel "In the Time of the Butterflies"?

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mart | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2008 at 9:09 AM via web

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How does Dede change throughout the novel "In the Time of the Butterflies"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 26, 2008 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

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As a child, Dede is always smiling, trying to please.  She is intelligent,and from a young age her father depends on her to "help with the books".  Dede volunteers to stay behind with her parents so her sisters can go to boarding school (Chapter 1). 

Though she is attracted to the rebel Lio, Dede is silent about her desires and loses him to her sister Minerva.  In a furtive attempt to assert herself, Dede burns Lio's letter asking Minerva to flee the country with him, but she cannot allow herself to escape the inevitablity of the life expected of her.  She marries her domineering childhood sweetheart Jaimito, and finds herself "already beginning to compromise with the man" even before they are wed.  Dede knows that "if she...(thinks) long and hard about what (is) right and wrong", she would join her sisters in revolution, but she does not because her husband forbids it (Chapter 5).

Dede finds her voice only after her sisters' deaths.  In the immediate aftermath she screams her defiance to the SIM, then takes charge of the girls' funeral arrangements and raises their children.  After several years she leaves Jaimito and establishes herself in the business world.  Dede retains much of her old self in her new life, however.  She continues to achieve, winning prizes yearly for "the most sales of anyone in her company", and sacrifices her privacy to keep the memory of her sisters alive (Epilogue).

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