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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

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Who dies in In the Time of the Butterflies?

In In the Time of the Butterflies, Enrique Mirabal dies in 1953. Patria, Minerva, and Mate Mirabal are assassinated in 1960. Dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated in 1961. Minerva's husband, Manolo, is also killed.

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Several characters die in Julia Alvarez's dramatized version of the life and death of the Mirabal sisters, In the Time of the Butterflies.

First, the sisters' father, Enrique, passes away in 1953. Apparently, he dies of natural causes, yet the family has already somewhat entered into the resistance movement against dictator Rafael Trujillo, for Enrique has already been questioned at the palace. A while later, Enrique, Mercedes, and Minerva meet with Trujillo but are released. The family is already suspect at this point.

Three of the Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Mate, are assassinated on November 25, 1960, along with their driver, Rufino, as they are going to visit their husbands, who are in prison. The sisters are ambushed by five men and beaten to death. Rufino is murdered as well. The killers then put all the bodies back in the Jeep and push it off the edge of a cliff.

The assassinations were supposed to send a message to the revolutionaries that messing with Trujillo and his regime was a bad idea, but this actually backfires. The sisters become martyrs for their cause, and their deaths actually inspire the revolutionaries to continue their fight.

Rafael Trujillo is also assassinated on May 30, 1961, shot down along a stretch of deserted highway. Yet the fight continues, because Trujillo's son takes his place as the new dictator. Many revolutionaries continue to die, including Minerva's husband, Manolo.

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