illustration of a young woman's silhouetted head with a butterfly on it located within a cage

In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

Start Free Trial

What happens at the end of In the Time of the Butterflies?

At the end of In the Time of the Butterflies, Dedé tells the story of her three sisters and Rufino being killed by Trujillo's soldiers.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dedé narrates the end of In the Time of the Butterflies. The three other sisters, now released from prison, learn their husbands have been transferred to a prison farther away, Puerta Plata, that can be reached by a dangerous mountain road. One day, November 25th, they go on their fourth visit to the men with Rufino as their driver, even when warned of the danger. A telegram then comes to Dedé and her mother, telling them that the sisters are in the hospital. They are ready to go to them when another message comes: the sisters are dead.

The official word is that their Jeep went out of control and crashed off the edge of the mountain, but eyewitnesses report that Trujillo's soldiers killed Rufino and the women. Dedé comes to where they are laid out in the morgue and is upset that two of them are on mats on the floor, not on gurneys. She wants to die, but is told that it is her martyrdom to stay alive.

Dedé relates what she later learns: that five soldiers confronted the four in the jeep. While one soldier observed, each of the other four killed one of the jeep occupants. Dedé understands that it is her fate to keep her sisters' stories and memories alive, but she also knows that she can now begin to look to the future.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team