In The Time of the Butterflies, how much time elapses before Patria sees her husband, son and Minerva?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Three months pass before Patria sees her husband, Nelson, and Minerva. In Chapter 19, "January to March 1960" Patria records,

It was three months before I laid eyes on her or Minerva or our husbands. Three months before I got to hold my Nelson.

After Trujillo ordered an attack upon the underground, Minerva, Mate, the three husbands, and Nelson were arrested. Naturally, Patria was devastated by this occurrence; so, she returns home to live. There she grows stronger and becomes able to bear her "cross." Her religious faith gives her strength as she prays every day. Patria writes in her diary,

But after a couple of weeks living at Mama‘s, I got used to the sorrows heaped upon my heart.

There is Noris to occupy her time, as well as the other children. In addition, Dede visits her, giving her additional strength. They pray with their rosaries, as they did as girls together; later, they play cards as they did together as children.

In the front hallway as far from the rest of the house hangs the required portrait of Trujillo, and not far from it the picture of the Good Shepherd that Mama always has had. Somehow Patria finds herself praying not just to the Good Shepherd, but also to Trujillo. She decides to continue praying to him as it might help bring back her family.

Finally, Captain Pena comes to tell her that Nelson will be released because he is young, and he has passes for Patria to visit her husband and Minerva. When they arrive at the prison, El Jefe has reporters around him, and Patria is disappointed as she simply sees an evil man. Then, when her son Nelson comes out to be released, Patria falls to her knees.

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In the Time of the Butterflies

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