Minerva is intelligent and determined. From a young age, she desires to become a lawyer, but her ambitions are thwarted because her father dispproves. She does eventually achieve her law degree, but is denied a license to practice by the dictator Trujillo.
Minerva is also passionately committed to the revolution in her country. Her activism is born when she hears from a quiet schoolmate that her brothers were all murdered because they dared to resist Trujillo's regime, and from then on her involvement in the movement shapes the course of her life.
There are a number of incidents in the book which show that Minerva is resourceful, and adept at salvaging the good out of bad circumstances. While still in school she diffuses a dangerous situation by diverting attention from a classmate who had directed criticism toward Trujillo during a play, and when she discovers her father has fathered daughters out of wedlock, she accepts them and arranges for their education. Later, while in prison, she organizes classes for the women in her cell.
Finally, Minerva has a fierce sense of integrity, and is true to her beliefs. When she is offered a pardon while in prison she refuses to accept it, because to do so would be an admission of guilt.