Study Guide

In the Time of the Butterflies Chapter 5 Summary

By Alvarez, Julia

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Part 1, Chapter 5

Dedé 1994 and 1948

  • This part is labeled: Part II: 1948 to 1959.
  • Back to the interview. Dedé tells her maid to throw plantain peels in the trash, not on the ground.
  • She thinks about Fela, one of the old servants who started channeling Dedé's sisters' spirits after they died. Dedé had no idea until the bishop told her, and she sent Fela down the road to do her wacky stuff somewhere else.
  • Minou, Minerva's daughter, stops to visit Fela when she sees Dedé so that she can talk to her mother. Dedé doesn't like it; she thinks it's disrespectful.
  • Minou says that Minerva told her (through Fela) to find Virgilio Morales, and to tell him hello and that she thinks of him.
  • At first Dedé is angry with her niece, but then says that she, too, says hello to Virgilio.
  • The interviewer asks Dedé when the problems started, and she snaps back into the present. She says that they started with a friend of theirs, Virgilio Morales.
  • Dedé, it seems, had a crush on Virgilio, a.k.a. Lío, but he and Minerva had something going on too.
  • She remembers the day they met him, when he came into the store where she and Minerva were working for their dad with an employee, Mario.
  • Minerva is happy to meet Lío, because he studies at the university her friends attend (where her parents didn't allow her to go). The two hit it off, and Dedé is jealous, even though she's been dating her second cousin Jaimito and is supposed to marry him.
  • The girls invite the guys to join them at their uncle's place to play volleyball, and then convince their dad to let them go.
  • It turns out that none of the girls except for Minerva actually play volleyball. They sit and watch the boys.
  • A few weeks later, at another volleyball game, Jaimito begs Dedé to play. He finally convinces her by organizing a girls against guys match.
  • She is about to serve, when she looks around for her sister. Minerva has disappeared with Lío, and when Dedé serves, she whacks the ball right into the bushes where the two are hidden.
  • It's not clear whether it was an accident or not, but the result is that everyone knows what the two lovebirds were doing in the bushes.
  • Jaimito makes a remark, causing a fight with Lío. Finally, they make peace and Lío says that his revolutionary cause needs people like Jaimito.
  • Dedé and Jaimito continue their love affair.
  • One day, Mate is reading the news to their mother and comes across an editorial that names Lío as a communist. Minerva defends him. The parents fight, and Dedé is conflicted about what to think.
  • Dedé starts getting more interested in politics.
  • The girls' mother has banned Lío from the house, so Minerva just goes out with Dedé and Jaimito and they pick him up on the way.
  • They would all make out in the car: Dedé and Jaimito in the front seat, Lío and Minerva in the back.
  • The police begin searching for Lío, and Dedé gets nervous. When she points out the unfair laws that are being passed, Jaimito dismisses her concerns.
  • Dedé remembers (for the interviewer) that one night she, Minerva, and Jaimito had gone to an official political party gathering to keep up appearances. Jaimito says they need to start behaving because suspicions are high, and he asks Minerva whether she'll run away with Lío. She says she won't, but that he hasn't asked her anyway.
  • It turns out the police have questioned Jaimito about Lío, and he's done his part to throw them off by saying the only illicit materials he's passed around are pornographic magazines.
  • Jaimito gets romantic that night, and Dedé knows he'll ask her to marry him. They decide to go into the car so they can turn on the light without anyone noticing.
  • As he proposes, Lío pops out of the back seat. He's hiding there until time to catch his ride in the morning. He gives Dedé a letter for Minerva.
  • Dedé kisses Jaimito goodbye and then goes to read her sister's letter.
  • In it, Lío asks Minerva to go to the Colombian embassy with him, where they can ask for political asylum and escape the country.
  • Dedé burns the letter and then has trouble sleeping.

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