In the Time of the Butterflies

Chapter 12

in chapter 12, how did captain Pena go from devil to God? 

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In Chapter 10, Patria compared Captain Pena to the devil, but now that he has maneuvered things so that Minerva and Maria Teresa could be released from prison, he is compared to God. Since their five-year sentence has been commuted to house arrest, "we had only a few rules to obey. (We called them Pena's commandments)." This is a reference to the Ten Commandments, part of the fundamental law of Christianity traditionally revealed to Moses by God.

While Minerva compares Captain Pena to God in that he hands down commandments, she also breaks from the theme of comparing Trujillo to God and instead compares him to the devil. When the spies at Mama's house call out, "Viva Trujillo!" she balks, thinking, "I wasn't going to invoke the devil's name in my own yard." Tio Pepe voices this opinion as well when he tells the girls about the reception in Trujillo's honor that was held at the mayor's house, calling the dictator a "devil in human form."