Study Guide

Don Enrique Mirabal, a.k.a. Papá in In the Time of the Butterflies

By Alvarez, Julia

Don Enrique Mirabal, a.k.a. Papá

The girls' father is sort of a complicated guy. He is a doting dad and is crazy about all of his daughters, but he's not such a great husband. He's softhearted with the campesinos that come asking for medicine or tobacco, always giving away what he has:

Dedé tells her father that she doesn't know how they do as well as they do, the way he gives everything away. (1.1.48)

However, Don Enrique also has a dark side.

He has a secret, second family, with four other daughters, that he keeps in a house far out on the property. When Minerva finds out and rams his car in anger, he takes her out into the back yard and slaps her. At that moment, though, Minerva realizes, "He was the weakest one of all. It was he who would have the hardest time living with the shabby choices he'd made" (2.6.46). That weakness is what leads to Enrique's downfall.

Because he doesn't stand up to Trujillo all the way, he just ends up on the fence and in jail. When he gets out he's a broken man, talking nonsense: "Every time there's a party, half the things in the ground spoil. We've got to stop feeding the hogs. It's all human teeth anyhow" (2.6.280). He is never the same, and dies soon after.

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