In the Time of the Butterflies

What might the massive rainstorm at the end of chapter 6 symbolize?


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The events of the party are mirrored by the weather's progression to a rain storm. When they arrive at the party, "there is a strong breeze, announcing rain." When Minerva mentions Lio's name, "suspicion clouds the gaze" of Trujillo's face, and when she refuses to dance with Manuel de Moya initially, "a cloud of annoyance crosses his face." When Minerva slaps Trujillo, it is like the clap of thunder that begins the storm: "and then the rain comes down hard, slapping sheets of it." In the midst of the storm, her family is the ship that steers her to safety: "Dede and Patria are turning in all directions like lookouts on the mast of a ship." Completing the conceit, Minerva steals a little decorative ship as a souvenir for Maria Teresa, who was too young to attend the party. As they escape in the rain, it looks as though the ship is being steered safely through the storm. At least until Minerva discovers she left something behind....