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In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

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What events occur in chapters 9-12 of In the Time of the Butterflies?

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Ch 9: Returns to present day (1994) but Dede quickly lapses into memory of 1960. Dede is recalling the time when she is forced to make a decision: either to join her sister's in the plot to kill Trujillo or stay out of it and abide by her husband's wishes: ...Dede had been ready to risk her life. It was her marriage that she couldn't put on the line. She had always been the docile middle child, used to following the lead...Dede sent Partia a not: "Sorry. Jamito says no."

Ch 10: Patria tells the story for January to March 1960. Her husband is arrested, her son, Nelson, and then Mate. PAtria must make the stomach-turning decision to "charm" Trujillo into showin mercy. She realizes it will be her feminine charm that will do this: "That's when it struck me. This devil might seem powerful, but finally I had a power stronger than his. So I used it." (Nelson is pardoned but her husband and sister refuse the pardon.)

Ch 11: Mate narrates about her time in prison. She is treated brutally, loses her pregnancy, but still carries on with the cause. An important discovery in this chapter is that things can be hidden in Mate's thick braid and smuggled out. My favorite quote in this chapter is: "May I never experience all that it is possible to get used to."

Ch 12: Minerva tells their story now. She is under house arrest and suffering from pneumonia. Despite these obstacles, Minerva and her sisters renew their efforts to liberate their men. Minerva's is the final tale told from the doomed sisters' narratives. She knows what will probably happen. She tells her sisters, "The boys believe we are about to be killed." As Minerva's story concludes, the truck (which will later report their deaths) is following the sisters up the mountain.

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