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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

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What reunited Dedé and Jaimito in In the Time of the Butterflies?

Quick answer:

Dedé and Jaimito are brought back together by the underground movement that Jaiminto has refused to get directly involved in and blocks Dedé from joining.

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Dedé and Jaimito, her second cousin, have a troubled marriage. He is not her first choice of husband, and he is a domineering, sometimes violent man. He is more conventional, too, than her sisters and their husbands, and he successfully tries to prevent Dedé from becoming involved in the underground movement against the Trujillo regime that her sisters are fully a part of.

Dedé finally tells Jaimito that she thinks their marriage should be over. He cries and "beg[s] for a second chance." He also becomes less overbearing toward her as events begin to overtake the Mirabal family. Dedé takes on more freedom in doing what she needs to do to help her extended family, whether Jaimito likes it or not.

They draw together more fully as Jaimito begins to do his part, even if it is small, in the struggle against Trujillo. Dedé explains,

it touched her that he had found his way to serve the underground after all—taking care of its womenfolk.

Jaimito can't do anything real to safeguard them, but the sisters' welfare nevertheless unites him with Dedé. The violence Dedé has seen in him and deplored now becomes directed against the dictatorship. Dedé still thinks at least once at night of leaving him, but also wonders what would happen to their boys. Years later, the couple does drift apart and divorce, but at its height, while Trujillo is still in power, the underground brings them together.

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