When looking at internal conflicts in the book In the Time of the Butterflies one must look first at the girl Patria. Patria starts out with the most giving personality and struggles with a decision to become a nun. She frequently asks guidance on the issue as she feels very drawn to the state of serving God. However, when she discovers that she is attracted to males and wants to be with a particular boy, her struggle is resolved as she does not become a nun.
Another internal struggle Patria has is if she should join the underground movement like her sisters. She witnesses the jeopardy they find themselves in when she is taking care of their children while the two sisters are incarcerated. Her son enters into the movement and soon Patria realizes that she too must do something for her country.
The external struggle is evident by the way that the current ruler controls the people. He likes young women whose lives he ruins by putting them up and using them for sex until he tires of them. He takes the girl out of school who Minerva knows. Then he tries to seduce Minerva who refuses his touches. He is angry and places pressure on her father by arresting him. He demonstrates his power and reduces the father to a childlike state. The man is shaken and no longer copes. His rule is not resolved during the book until he is later thrown out.