How Does Maria feel about being questioned by the guards ?In the Time of the Butterflies

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sfwriter eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maria Teresa ("Mate") doesn't worry too much about the guards bothering her in prison, until one day when she is taken away to a special room away from her cell.  She had her sister in her cell with her, and she found some comfort with the other women prisoners.  They had a friend who was a guard, and he provided them with some comforts in prison.  While they were in the cell, they were confined and certainly sad, but they were not directly mistreated by any of the guards.  It was an enforced captivity for political reasons, but it was at least bearable.

Mate suspects she is pregnant (she had had a lot of stomach upsets) on the day she is taken from her cell.  She is brought to a room where she is laid upon a table and given an electric shock -- a form of torture.  Her husband had been brought into the room to watch her suffer in order to make him talk.  Of course, under this kind of duress, he breaks and tells the guards what they want to know.

The aftermath of this horrible incident is that Mate, probably (it is never confirmed) miscarried her very early pregnancy.  Mate had never really expressed her outrage against the Trujillo regime before this (Minerva had done a great deal of that for her), but after this incident Mate is despondent enough and angry enough to try her own form of resistance.  When the Organization of American States comes to inspect the prisons, Mate figures out a way to send the inspector a message (a note hidden in her braid).  This courageous act eventually leads to the entire group's release.

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In the Time of the Butterflies

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