What is the danger of not showing one's emotions in prison in the book In the Time of the Butterflies?Chapter 11

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Minerva, the danger of not showing one's emotions in prison is that if people get used to bottling up their emotions too tightly and too long, when they are released, they will find that they have forgotten how to feel altogether.

Minerva gives this explanation to her younger sister Mate.  Mate is not outwardly strong and stoic like Minerva.  She is emotional, and one day, when she begins to panic, Minerva sits with her and calms her, reminding her "of all the things (she has) to live and be patient for".  Mate notes that "it happens here all the time...every day and night there's at least one breakdown - someone loses control and starts to scream or sob or moan".  Minerva tells Mate that

"it's better letting yourself go...the alternative is freezing yourself up, never showing what you are feeling, never letting on what you're thinking...then one day, you're out of here, free, only to discover you've locked yourself up and thrown away the key somwhere too deep inside your heart to fish it out" (Chapter 11).

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In the Time of the Butterflies

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