In the Time of the Butterflies Questions and Answers Part II: Chapters 5-8

Julia Alvarez

Questions and Answers Part II: Chapters 5-8

Questions
1. Dedé tells her companions she watches sports but doesn’t play them. In retrospect, what does this reveal about her character?

2. “Something has started none of us can stop,” says Minerva. What does she mean by this remark?

3. How does Minerva’s pride both help and hurt her in initial interactions with Trujillo?

4. How does María Teresa get involved in the movement to overthrow Trujillo?

5. What impacts Patria’s decision to join the movement?

Answers
1. Dedé’s initial fear of embarrassment and risk-taking lead her to make major decisions based on fear, rather than her feelings. Her fear prevents her from getting to know Virgilio and leads her to marry Jaimito, and it also keeps her from participating in the politics that bring her sisters together in a united front against Trujillo.

2. Minerva’s resistance to El Jefe’s attention and her association with Lío have brought the family notoriety, and they will forever after live under the dictator’s close watch—living under fewer freedoms than they had before.

3. Minerva is too proud to let the dictator use his power to get at her body, and she is also too proud to completely humor him—while she is strong enough to stand up for herself, her strength attracts and challenges Trujillo. This is because he wants to destroy that strength or see it focused on his and the regime’s needs.

4. She becomes attracted to a gun runner code-named Palomino who frequently calls on Minerva and Manolo, and her feelings for the movement to overthrow Trujillo are laced with romantic feelings for this man, whose real name is Leandro and who marries her.

5. She witnesses the deaths of innocent Dominicans and young teens while she’s on a religious retreat and decides this shouldn’t become her children’s fate. The church’s support for a Trujillo overthrow also reinforces her decision, since she is religious.