In the Time of the Butterflies

Describe María Teresa in some detail


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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.

Because Maria Teresa's chapters are narrated in diary form, her voice is affected by her age at the time. In this chapter, she is eleven and twelve years old. Although she does not understand some of what is going on, the reader can gather information from her reports. For instance, on Three Kings Day, when Minerva mentions that they should celebrate Benefactor's Day in a cemetery, Maria Teresa says, "I guess I do have a reflection. Why should we celebrate Benefactor's Day in the cemetery? I asked Minerva, but she said it was just a bad joke, forget she said so." The reader understands Minerva's meaning even if Maria Teresa does not.

Maria Teresa's devotion to and admiration of Minerva are apparent in this chapter, as she notes. Minerva is the one who gave her the diary, encouraging her to reflect as a way to "deepen one's soul." After her First Communion, when Maria Teresa asks Minerva what it means to really have a soul, "Minerva says a soul is like a deep longing in you that you can never fill up, but you try." She also demonstrates her commitment to Minerva by lying for her, corroborating the story that Tio Mon is ill and that this is why Minerva has been sneaking out of school.