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

In the Time of the Butterflies book cover
Start Your Free Trial

I need a summary of Chapter 12 pages 277-298 in In the Time of the Butterflies.

Expert Answers info

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Key points to focus on in this section of this amazing novel is the way that the tension increasingly mounts. There is the threat of a massacre as soldiers drive up and identity Minerva, and then there are a series of elements of foreshadowing that point towards the violent end that awaits the sisters, especially when they receive their passes to visit their husbands and are able to travel along a mountain pass. This final section of the narrative of the sisters before we return to the Epilogue and the account of Dede in the present is very poignant and moving, precisely because we know what is going to happen to them and they are unaware of the fate that awaits them. The way in which the author evokes sympathy for the position of the butterflies through showing tender, intimate family moments serves to heighten our sympathy and our pity for the way in which the butterflies become yet more brutal casualties of Trujillo's regime. In particular, note the way in which this chapter ends:

I don't know quite how to say this but it was as if we were girls again, walking through the dark part of the yard, a little afraid, a little excited by our fears, anticipating the lighted house just around the bend--

Such a finish is designed to gain our sympathy for the butterflies as we see them as vulnerable women whose lives are about to be destroyed completely.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial