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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

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Who came to the girls' school for a visit in In the Time of Butterflies?

Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic, came to the girls' school for a visit. He had spotted their beautiful classmate Lina and was immediately captivated by her.

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Minerva tells the story of a surprise visitor to their school that happened in 1941.

Minerva and the other girls at her school were playing soccer one afternoon, and their beautiful and confident classmate Lina was leading the game. Suddenly, their game was interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected visitor for Lina, who was promptly led away. This struck Minerva as particularly odd, since weekday visitors weren't allowed and the school enforced its rules strictly.

Nonetheless, Lina disappeared, leaving the other girls to finish the game without her. When she returned later, Lina had a medal pinned to her uniform, placed there by Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic. He had been visiting a school official next door to the school when he had heard their shouts during the game and had then spotted beautiful Lina.

Trujillo began visiting the school with increasing frequency, always bringing gifts for Lina, who fell in love with him. The sisters were concerned for Lina at first, but soon, Trujillo began sending gifts and money to the school, as well.

Eventually, Trujillo invited Lina to a weeklong getaway for her birthday, and she never returned. Minerva's father later explained to her that Lina had gotten pregnant by Trujillo and that he had moved her to a large mansion for her safety. She was forced to live all alone, like his many other girlfriends who were scattered all over the island.

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