In the Time of the Butterflies

Part I: Chapter 1-4

Chapter 1
In chapter one, an interviewer comes to Dede Mirable's house to interview her. Then the story goes back in time, when the four Mirable sisters and their parents are at their front yard. Enrique Mirable, papa, predicting each of his daughters' fortunes. He says that Dede would be the millionaire of the family, while telling Maria Teresa she will make "a lot of men's mouths water." Then Enrique, Chea, and Patria talks about fortune. Minerva interrupts in the middle, mentioning about women and law. When Enrique mentions the name Trujillo, the mood changes and the family hurry inside.

Chapter 2
Complications, 1938
This chapter basically focuses on Minerva's school life at Inmaculada Concepcion. Minerva meets Sinita at school, and they become best friends. Then Sinita tells Minerva her secret, which is about Trujillo destroying her family, killing her dad, brother, and uncle. After hearing this, Minerva's image of Trujillo starts to changes.
¡Pobrecita!, 1941
Minerva and her friends talk about Lina Lovaton, who they look up to. One day, Trujillo summons Lina, and comes to her to give her gifts. After Lina's birthday party, which Trujillo prepared for her, she goes with him to a house, becoming his girlfriend. Later Lina becomes pregnant, and because Trujillo's wife tries to kill her, Trujillo sends Lina alone to a safe place alone. Minerva and others feels bad for her, and Sinita claims that Trujillo is a devil while Minerva disagrees with her.
The Performance, 1944
The Independence day was going on since February 27 to celebrations for the centennial of the Dominican Republic. In order to show their loyalty to their dictator, Mirable family make Patria's birthday into a patriotic affair. At school, Minerva and her friends decides to enter the contest with a centennial them held because a new wing has been added. After they win the contest, they are told to perform in front of Trujillo. While doing fine in the skit, Sinita suddenly aims her bow and arrow toward Trujillo, making an unexpected movement. After they were finished with their performance, they were scolded by Sor Asuncion.

Chapter 3
Chapter three is written by Maria Teresa in diary form. She got her diary from Minerva. In December, Maria Teresa records of herself riding back home for the vacation. When she arrive home with Minerva, Patria was waiting with her two son Noris and Nelson, and pregnant with third. After their shopping with Mama in Santiage, their cousin, Berto and Raul visit the Mirable family with Tia Flor. Back to school in January, Maria feels lonely and wants to go back home. A month later, Maria Teresa is asked to principle office, because Minerva told the principle that she was trying to sneak out because their uncle, Tio Mon, is sick. She helps her sister to lie, but scolds Minerva about it later. Minerva eventually confesses the truth that she and her friends have been meeting at Don Horacio's house for secret meetings. Few days later, Minerva is now hanging out with Hilda, and Maria Teresa thinks that it is not a good idea to be friend with her. In July, the guards come to the school to look for Hilda, but couldn't find her because she was pretending like a student of Inmaculada Concepcion. Maria Teresa also mentions that Minerva graduates in July, and Patria lost her third child. Unfortunately, Minerva takes Maria Teresa's diary and bury it because it mentions about Hilda, who's been caught.

Chapter 4
This chapter is narrated by Patria in 1946. She starts out the chapter by talking about her belief in God. On Holy Thursday, she volunteers to help washing the parishioners' feet. Then she meets Pedrito, and as washing his feet, she falls in love with him. They plan the wedding before her seventeenth birthday. They move to San Jose de Conuco, and gives birth to Nelson and Noris. But then she struggles as worrying for Minerva's actions against the government. After they moved back to their family's house again, Pedrito and Patria both starts to recover their spirit. One night, Pedrito sneaks out of the bed, and Patria follows him, resulting in seeing her dead son covered with ants. Chea decides to take her daughters on pilgrimage. On their way toward Higuey, Chea speaks awkwardly about her husband. Patria notices that there's something going wrong between her parents, which was right. On the next morning, as Maria Teresa begins to pray, Patria feels her faith coming back.

Key Questions:
1.     How do you feel about the situation with Lina Lovatón, the beautiful older girl at the school? Did she seem to have a choice in being with Trujillo; did the nuns have the ability to stop it?
2.     What do you know about Dede? Why do you think she survived while her sisters did not?
3.     What can you predict about the rest of the story from reading these first few chapters?