The oldest of the Mirabal sisters, she is the most religious. At first she planned to enter a convent but then chose to marry Pedrito Gonzales at the age of 16. Her full name is Patria Mercedes Mirabal.
Patria's husband, who was incarcerated during the revolution along with their son, Nelson. She thinks of him as animal-like, and his character is inextricably linked to the earth. After Patria's death he is restless until he remarries a young girl.
Patria and Pedrito's son, who becomes involved in the revolution and is arrested along with his father.
Patria's daughter, who comes of age just before her mother is killed.
Patria's youngest son, named after Che Guevara of the Cuban revolution.
Bélgica Adela "Dedé" Mirabal-Reyes, the second oldest of the Mirabal sisters, and the only one to survive the Trujillo regime. She is married to Jaimito during the action of the story, but the reader learns that they divorced in 1984. They have three sons: Enrique, Rafael, and David.
One of Dede and Jaimito's sons.
One of Dede and Jaimito's sons.
One of Dede and Jaimito's sons.
María Argentina Minerva Mirabal, the third Mirabal sister, and the one most wrapped up in the revolution. She and her revolutionary husband, Manolo Tavarez, have two children: Minou and Manolito.
Minerva's husband, who is also imprisoned as a revolutionary. They meet in Jarabacoa while they are both studying law--and while he is engaged to someone else. After Minerva's death, he stays active in the revolution, and he is gunned down.
Minerva and Manolo's daughter, who lives with Dede in 1994 and has a husband and baby of her own.
Minerva and Manolo's son.
Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, or "Mate," the youngest Mirabal sister. Her sections of In the Time of the Butterflies are narrated in diary form. She is married to Leandro Guzman.
Leandro Guzman Rodriguez
Maria Teresa's husband, whom she met through Minerva and Manolo, and who is also imprisoned as a revolutionary. When they meet, he operates under the codename Palomino and is an engineer working on projects throughout the country. He also makes deliveries between revolutionary cells. After Manolo's death, he becomes a builder in the capital and gets out of politics. He also has remarried and started a new family.
The daughter of Maria Teresa and Leandro.
The father of Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. He drinks often and has an affair with Carmen, a woman on the Mirabal family property, with whom he has children.
The interview woman
This "gringa" woman interviews Dede in 1994, and her questions provoke Dede to retreat into the past and remember the events that led up to her sisters' deaths. She is "such a thin woman with fly-about hair in her face."
Minerva's friend and fellow revolutionary, who first explains to Minerva that Trujillo's regime is evil. When they meet as children, she is "a skinny girl with a sour look on her face and pokey elbows to match." During a performance for Trujillo and his son Ramfis, she comes dangerously close to shooting Trujillo with a bow and arrow.
One of the nuns at Inmaculada Concepcion, where the girls go to school.
One of Minerva's friends at Inmaculada Concepcion.
One of Minerva's friends at Inmaculada Concepcion, who is "pretty in an I-told-you-so way, as if she hadn't expected to turn out pretty and now she had to prove it." She marries a journalist, Roberto Suarez, and they surprise Minerva by refusing to join the revolutionary movement.
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, the dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. As described by Sinita to Minerva, "Trujillo became president in a sneaky way. First, he was in the army, and all the people who were above him kept disappearing until he was the one right below the head of the whole armed forces."
One of the nuns at Inmaculada Concepcion, who allows Sinita to go to school there for free.
A schoolmate of Minerva, in whom Trujillo takes an interest. She becomes one of his many mistresses. She is "grownup-looking for her age, tall with red-gold hair and her skin like something just this moment coming out of the oven, giving off a warm golden glow."
Rafael Leonidas Ramfis, Trujillo's son, a full colonel in the army since the age of four. When Sinita approaches Trujillo with a bow and arrow during the girls' performance, Ramfis jumps up and breaks her bow.
A man who works for the Mirabals in their home. He continues to work at the museum in 1994.
The Mirabals' maid, who continues to work for Dede in 1994. She believes that she can commune with the three dead sisters, and she tells Minou what they say.
One of the Mirabals' cousins, on whom Maria Teresa has a crush as a young girl.
One of the Mirabals' cousins and Berto's older brother. Maria Teresa has a crush on both of them as a young girl.
Berto and Raul's mother and the Mirabal girls' aunt. She is married to Tio Pepe.
One of the Mirabals' uncles. He is married to Tia Flor and is the father of Raul and Berto.
One of the Mirabals' uncles, who lives in La Vega. Minerva lies and says he is sick, and that that is the reason she has been sneaking out of school.
Elsa's grandfather, who is in trouble with the police. Minerva goes to her first revolutionary meetings at his home with Elsa, Lourdes, and Sinita.
A revolutionary orphan with whom Minerva becomes friends while she is at Inmaculada Concepcion. Maria Teresa describes her as wearing "trousers and a beret slanted on her head like she is Michelangelo." The police catch her while she is leaving the convent.
Dede's cousin and husband.
One of the distributors of Enrique Mirabal's store, who introduces Dede and Minerva to Lio.
Virgilio Morales, "a tall thin man" with thick, wire-rimmed glasses. When Dede and Minerva meet him, he has just returned from Venezuela, where he earned his medical degree. He asks Minerva to come away with him, and he sends her letters which Enrique Mirabal, her father, keeps from her.
The woman with whom Enrique Mirabal has been having an affair and with whom he has other children, including Margarita.
The oldest of Carmen's children by Enrique Mirabal. When she visits Patria with a note from Maria Teresa, she has "a sweet, simple face and dark, thick hair held back with bobby pins. The eyes, the brows, the whole look had Mirabal written all over it." She gets her pharmacy degree and supports her younger sisters.
Manuel de Moya
Trujillo's secretary of state, whose real job is to round up young girls for Trujillo to take advantage of. He tries to seduce Minerva at the Discovery Day party.
Don Antonio de la Maza
The governor, who suggests that Minerva allow Trujillo to sleep with her in order to save her father, after Enrique Mirabal is taken to jail. He is "a tall, handsome man with a worried face."
The mother of the Mirabal sisters, who defends her daughters with a passion. She often insists that wherever they go or wherever her husband goes, she is going, too. She dies twenty years after her three daughters. She is unable to read or write, though Maria Teresa teaches her a little.
General Federico Fiallo
A "courtly, white-haired man" at the National Police Headquarters, who interrogates Minerva about Lio and her relationship with him.
Don Anselmo Paulino
Trujillo's right-hand man, called "Magic Eye" because he lost an eye in a knife fight, and his "remaining good eye magically sees what everyone else misses." He roughly interrogates Minerva about Lio at the National Headquarters.
Mama's uncle, who knew Trujillo during their early days in the military. She points out this connection to Trujillo in order to try to remain on his good side.
The yardboy, who works for the Mirabal household. He betrays them by reporting everything he hears at Security "for a bottle of rum and a couple of pesos."
Padre de Jesus Lopez
Patria's priest, who is "straight out of seminary and brimming with new ideas." He tells her that he, too, is "lost so that I can't show you the way." He becomes involved in the revolution.
The speaker at the retreat where Patria goes with other Catholic women when, on the 14th of June, the church is attacked.
An old Spaniard who moved to the countryside near Mama's house with his wife Dona Belen from San Cristobal.
Don Bernardo's wife, whom he takes care of. "Something was wrong with the frail, old woman--she was forgetting the simplest things."
Dede's maid, who came to work for her when Jaime David was born.
Jaimito's mother, who dotes on Dede, her daughter-in-law, so much "that Dede sometimes worried that Leila's five daughters would resent her."
Victor Alicinio Pen, the head of the northern division of the SIM. He is a very fat man with "sharp, piglike eyes," and a toady of Trujillo. After Pedrito and Nelson are arrested, he takes over their land.
Padre de Jesus' replacement at Patria's church, who speaks of revolution from the pulpit.
The guard at the prison where Minerva and Maria Teresa are held, who brings them things from the outside world and delivers their messages to Patria and Mama, through Margarita. "Santiclo" means "Santa Claus," and it is their code name for him.
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates, who is resentful of the richer women.
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates at the jail, whom Maria Teresa calls "our little birdseed bell." She has a little girl and is "pretty dark with quite a kink in her hair." She tells Maria Teresa about her tragic life story, then tries to kiss her.
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates in jail. At the end of one of their group rosaries, she says, "May I never experience all that it is possible to get used to."
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates in jail. She is deaf, and Maria Teresa teaches her how to write her name.
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates in jail. She is educated and leads the revolutionary meetings in the cell along with Minerva. However, Delia reports later that she has left and sought asylum, abandoning the movement.
One of Minerva's and Maria Teresa's cellmates in jail. She is a doctor, and after they are released, Minerva and Patria visit her to ask about the state of the movement. She sends them to Dr. Pedro Vinas.
The driver who is the Mirabal sisters' favorite, who takes them to visit their husbands in prison. He is murdered along with them.
Dr. Pedro Vinas
A urologist in Santiago. Delia tells Minerva and Patria that he is maintaining the revolutionary movement in their area. He is a "genial little man" and explains to Minerva why the uprising of young men failed.
The young attendant at El Gallo, where Minerva, Patria, and Maria Teresa stop to buy purses on the way to visit their husbands in Puerto Plata.
One of Dede's visitors, who reports that he was listening to the radio when he heard the crash of the car carrying the bodies of her sisters.
Dede's friend in 1994, with whom she tries to "catch up with what our children call the modern times."
Maria Teresa's roommate at Dona Hita's. She is also a university student and involved in the revolution.
Maria Teresa's and Sonia's landlady while they store deliveries from Leandro, still attending classes at the university. She assumes that they are prostitutes and he is their pimp.
The young soldier
On their trip to visit their husbands in Puerto Plata, the sisters and Rufino pick up the young soldier on the side of the road. He is on his way back to Puerto Plata after a three-night furlough to meet his newborn son in Tamboril.
In the Time of the Butterflies Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for In the Time of the Butterflies is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
When Dede asks the interviewer what she wants to know, the interviewer answers, "Tell me all of it." Then she comments on how "open and cheerful" Dede is, and she expresses wonder about how Dede manages to keep from letting "such a tragedy" take...
In the Time of the Butterflies essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.