In the Time of the Butterflies

Why does the family go to the Discovery Day Dance ? What happens while they are there?

Chapter 6

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The family arrives at the party an hour late, having gotten lost. But Trujillo is late, too, as they learn from Manuel de Moya, his secretary of state. A table is reserved for the Mirabals, but Don Manuel tells Minerva she is going to sit with Trujillo. Finally El Jefe arrives, but he does not sit with Minerva; instead, she is entertained by Manuel de Moya. It is about to rain, but the tables are pushed back for dancing. When Don Manuel asks Minerva to dance, she says she has a headache and cannot. Patria brings her calmantes before Don Manuel returns with some for her as well. Finally, Minerva agrees to dance with him.

Soon, Trujillo becomes her partner. He flirts with her, and she tells him she wants to study in the capital to be a lawyer. But when he implies that he would like to "conquer" her, she says she is "not for conquest." He tells her the university is no place for women, mentioning the "communists and agitators," implying they have been caught. By mistake, Minerva blurts out, "Virgilio Morales?" She must backtrack and pretend she does not know Lio, and Trujillo believes her. When he pulls her inappropriately close, thrusting at her in a vulgar way, she slaps his face.

The rain begins immediately, and the party moves quickly inside. The Mirabals rush off, but Minerva forgets her purse. She and Patria cannot find it anywhere, and they assume that someone already brought it inside and that it will be mailed to them. But on the ride home, Minerva realizes that she has put the letters from Lio in the pocket of the lining.