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

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What are some of Dede's strengths and fears and how do they help her make some good and bad decisions in the future? i want to know some of the qualities that Dede possesses and how these qualities have had an impact on her future decisions. i want some quotes to prove it and some of her strengths and weaknesses

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One of Dede's weaknesses is her capitulation to the "rule" of men. Unlike Minerva, Dede believes in the authority of patriarchy. In Chapter Five, she disapproves of Minerva's crossing the line in things she considers the domain of men. For example, when Jamito asks Dede to join a game, Dede declines:

"I wouldn't be much help," Dede giggles. Truly, she had always considered sports- like politics - something for men.

Another of her weaknesses is her thinking that she can make decisions for her sister, that she, Dede, knows best. She intercepts a letter meant for Minerva in which Lio has asked her sister to run away with him and support the cause. Though she acts from a place of love, fear takes over. She is distressed about what may happen to Minerva. Dede decides to play god (Ch 5):

Dede took the chimney off the lamp, and with a trembling hand, fed the letter to the flame.

Though throughout the novel we see Dede wringing her hands and seeming like the weaker sister among her family of intense personalities. But Dede ultimately shows *incredible* strength. It is she, the lone survivor, who takes on the lifelong task of keeping the memory of her heroic sisters alive. The concluding lines say it all:

And I see them all there in my memory, as still as statues, Mama and Papa, and Minerva and Mate and Patria, and I'm thinking something is missing now. And I count them all twice before I realize -- it's me, Dede, it's me, the one who survived to tell the story.

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