In the Time of the Butterflies

Each of the sisters has different motivations for her involvement in the underground and tolerates different amounts of risk. Discuss when each sister decides to become politically active. What specific event triggers each woman's decision?


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Minerva's involvement in the revolution was directly related to her relationship and subsequent marriage to her husband Manolo Tavarez. She was also influenced by her friend Sinita while at the Inmaculada Concepcion. Sinita's story of how Trujillo killed her family was Minerva's first revelation as to the kind of man Trujillo was.

Patria was triggered to become involved in the revolution by urges to protect her family.

Maria Teresa was drawn into revolutionary activities by Minerva. When Minerva got into trouble at school, Maria lied for her (out of character), and from then on she just fell in behind her sister's lead.

"She took both my hands in hers as if we were getting ready to jump together into a deep spot in the lagoon of Ojo de Agua ... I pictured myself on a hot day falling, slowly and deeply, into those cold layers of water. I held on tight to my sister's hands, no longer afraid of anything but that she might let go."

Dede becomes involved in the revolution because of Jaimito's friendship with Lio. He seems to draw in the women, and for a time this causes problems between the sisters.