Study Guide

In the Time of the Butterflies Chapter 3 Summary

By Alvarez, Julia

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Part 1, Chapter 3

This little book belongs to María Teresa 1945 to 1946

  • Chapter 3 is made up of María Teresa's (the youngest sister) diary entries. She gets the diary as a gift from her older sister Minerva.
  • María Teresa takes her first communion and complains about the mean girls who steal her diary and laugh at her.
  • She is chosen to play Santa Lucía in the school pageant and thinks a lot about what it means to have taken communion: now she has a soul.
  • María Teresa goes home for Christmas. On the way there, Minerva gives her a sex ed lesson, complete with illustrations. A boy who is flirting with them buys them some cashews and sees the picture that Minerva drew of a penis and testicles. The girls almost die of embarrassment.
  • The youngest Mirabal sister gets in trouble for telling her nephew ghost stories and also makes her new year's resolutions.
  • She talks her mom into buying her a second brand-new pair of shoes and gets a crush on her cousin Berto.
  • At a holiday dinner Minerva makes a critical remark about the celebration of Benefactor's Day (celebrating Trujillo), saying they should have their celebration in the cemetery (because of all the deaths Trujillo is responsible for). Everyone is silent.
  • Back at school María Teresa has to find a new best friend and also has to lie to cover for Minerva, who is cutting classes to attend secret meetings at a guy named Don Horacio's house.
  • María Teresa is upset by the news that the beloved president is actually a killing machine.
  • Berto writes love letters to María Teresa. Oooooh.
  • Minerva makes a new friend, Hilda, who wears pants (gasp!) and says she's not sure if God exists. She has to hide in the convent, dressed as a nun, because of some secret papers she was transporting that the police found.
  • The Mirabal sisters go home for summer vacation.
  • Patria, the eldest sister, has a baby, but he is stillborn.
  • Minerva asks María Teresa to hand over her diary (the one we're reading), because it has information written in it about Hilda.
  • Hilda has been arrested, so all the incriminating papers have to be buried. The girls' brother-in-law Pedrito agrees to bury everything in his cacao grove.
  • María Teresa bids farewell to her little diary.

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