In the Time of the Butterflies Questions and Answers
by Julia Alvarez

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In In the Times of the Butterflies what happens in chapter 4 (summarize chapter 4)?

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In Chapter 4, the religious Patria gives birth to a stillborn child and experiences a radical shift in her faith. Patria recalls:

And suddenly, I was crying in her arms, (Minerva's) because I could feel the waters breaking, the pearl of great price slipping out, and I realized I was giving birth to something dead I had been carrying inside me.

After I lost the baby, I felt a strange vacancy. I was an empty house with a sign in front, "Se Vende," For Sale. Any vagrant thought could take me.

Eventually, Patria discovers that her husband is also devastated by their mutual loss and the two cling to each other ("his grief was so silent and animal-like.")

Patria's faith is forever changed. She feels deserted by the Virgencita. For some time she questions her completely. But Patria comes to realize her childhood faith has not deserted her, only changed to be a more adult and complex faith. The last line of the chapter, "Here Patria Mercedes, I'm here, all around you. I've already more than appeared," helps Patria see that her task lies in changing to world, not cowering in a church or counting her rosary beads in the relative safety of her home.

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