In The Time of the Butterflies, in Chapter 7, how does Maria Teresa's tone in her diary change from the beginning to end? What does this change illustrate?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At the beginning of Chapter Seven (1953-1958), Maria Teresa is very depressed, writing "I feel like dying" because she has been mourning the death of her father. On December 31, she starts her entry with these words: "last day of this sad old year." She has Tio [Aunt] Fela read her coffee cup to learn if there is a man coming into her life as she wants someone to love. On March 1, 1954, Mate has a portentous dream about her father in his coffin: underneath his body is Manolo.

In the summer, Maria Teresa's spirits lighten as she graduates and there is celebration in her family. However, she has a little spat with her Tio Flor about her cousins who are interested in her. But, Mama has given her a suitcase to use when she goes to the university as well as having transferred $10,000 of her inheritance to Mate.

Once she is at the university with her sister Minerva, she sees that all the street signs are named after the Trujello family. She and her sister must sign a pledge of loyalty to El Jefe; consequently, Mate hides her diary. On October 18, she has another dream about her father. But, her spirits lift when she is made Miss University, despite disappearances of people every week.

On July 26, 1955, Mate writes, "I'm feeling very solitary and sad and more jamonita than a hog. This depression is mainly because she has no one to love.

On July 27, Mate's sister earns her law degree, but she is not permitted to have a license to practice. Mate thinks that El Jefe let her study for four-five years and then punished her afterwards.  She also senses trouble between Minerva and her husband Manolo. This suspicion is confirmed when she drives to Minerva and Manolo's new house--a "shack!"-- to help her set up housekeeping. But, because she stays and lives with them, the couple can spend time together as Mate babysits. Once reconciled, Minerva thanks her sister for bringing her and her husband back together.

On September 7, Mate decides to finish her degree, but is disillusioned because of what has happened to Minerva. She dreams again of Papa, but this time there is man upon man on top of him.

But, things improve when Mate encounters a strange man one night as he delivers a package. "The sweetest man" is named Palomino and he, too, is part of the movement. 

On November 14, 1957, Maria Teresa writes in her diary that she is in love with Palomino, who is really Leandro Guzman Rodriquez; and, they are married on Valentine's day of the next year.

Thus, Maria Teresa who began the diary entries of Chapter 7 in despair in "a sad old year" in which she saw her beloved Papa buried and she feels very solitary, now has a bright future before her with her new husband. In addition, she is in school and has purpose to her life.

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