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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez
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What does Trujillo do in In the Time of the Butterflies?

In In the Time of the Butterflies, Trujillo has the Mirabal sisters killed.

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Trujillo is the dictator of the Dominican Republic. He functions several ways in the book: he is the impersonal head of a repressive state, but he is also a character who interacts personally with Minerva and her family.

Ultimately, what Trujillo does is have the Mirabal sisters murdered. But before...

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Trujillo is the dictator of the Dominican Republic. He functions several ways in the book: he is the impersonal head of a repressive state, but he is also a character who interacts personally with Minerva and her family.

Ultimately, what Trujillo does is have the Mirabal sisters murdered. But before that, we learn of his many crimes. For instance, as a girl, Minerva learns from Sinita that Trujillo's "secret" is that he "is having everyone killed"—knowledge that begins her radicalization. Later, Trujillo shows up in person at her school, attracted by her beautiful classmate Lina. Lina eventually becomes one of Trujillo's many mistresses. Minerva learns about this fate one day on a trip to the capital, when her father casually points out the gated mansion where Lina lives.

Minerva comes to understand that Trujillo stands for a specific kind of sexual violence against women. This becomes all too clear when Minerva actually meets Trujillo at a party. Trujillo is sexually attracted to Minerva, but when he gropes her during a dance she slaps his face. Minerva's defiance of Trujillo's sexual advances leads to her father's imprisonment and a personal interview with Trujillo, in which Minerva has to bargain for her father's freedom. In this sense, Trujillo represents the brutality and misogyny of macho culture.

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