Study Guide

In the Time of the Butterflies Part 2, Chapter 6

By Alvarez, Julia

Part 2, Chapter 6

Minerva 1949

  • Now Minerva's doing the talking. She asks her father if she can go to the university, but he wants her to stay around for her parents.
  • She's getting really bored at home after three years and spends her days driving around.
  • One day Minerva sees her dad's Ford parked at a little house on their property. She starts driving past there to see what he's up to, and when she does four little girls always come out to ask her for mints.
  • She realizes that they have her family's eyes, and asks them who their father is. They don't answer, and she asks if they have a brother.
  • Minerva is happy to see that her father wasn't able to have a boy with his second family either.
  • The girls' mom comes out, expecting to see Minerva's father because she's in his car, and then scolds her children when she sees it's not him.
  • When Minerva meets Lío, she feels like she has awakened from a deep sleep, and has to convince herself not to fall in love with him. She feels like she has to decide between romance and revolution.
  • Lío leaves the country, and Minerva is sad that he didn't say goodbye (remember her sister Dedé burned his goodbye letter!) and also worries about his safety.
  • One day Minerva pries open her dad's armoire and starts going through his pockets. She finds four letters addressed to her from Lío, and realizes that he had wanted her to meet him and escape with him.
  • She keeps the letters and leaves the armoire open so her father will know he's been caught.
  • A few minutes later Minerva drives away in the jeep to her dad's other family's house. His car is there, and she crashes into it and lays on the horn.
  • He comes out and asks her what she wants.
  • She just drives away.
  • At home, her mother scolds her for leaving without saying anything.
  • Her dad comes home and asks to see her outside.
  • When they get outside, he slaps her in the face for disrespecting him.
  • She says he has lost her respect, and then he seems to shrink before her eyes.
  • He says that he hid them to protect her, and she realizes he's talking about the letters.
  • He says that he knows at least three of Lío's friends have disappeared, and Minerva realizes they're going to pretend that the other family doesn't exist, that she was just mad about the letters.
  • Another thing that she found in his pockets was an invitation to a fancy party thrown by Trujillo, with specific, handwritten instructions that Minerva come along.
  • Her mother doesn't want her to go because everyone knows that Trujillo wants to have sex with Minerva.
  • Mate wants to go, but of course they won't let her, because then Trujillo would try to take two of their daughters. Minerva promises to bring her a souvenir.
  • While her dad's car is getting fixed, Minerva drives him on his errands. One of them is to go to the new house where he's moved his other family. He insists that he has broken it off with the mom, and that he just goes to see the girls.
  • Minerva says she wants to go because they're her sisters, too.
  • He introduces them, and she introduces herself to the mother.
  • She asks her dad why he did it, and he says it is a "thing a man does."
  • He asks her why she did what she did, and she says "things a woman does."
  • At that moment she suddenly starts noticing all the hunk dudes around her—apparently she has become a woman.
  • Minerva, her dad, Pedrito, Jaimito, Patria, and Dedé show up at Trujillo's party an hour late.
  • Trujillo's secretary of state, Manuel de Moya, is waiting for them. Everyone knows his real job is rounding up girls for Trujillo.
  • It turns out El Jefe (The Chief, Trujillo's nickname) hasn't shown up yet either.
  • The family gets a reserved table, and Minerva has to sit up on the stage at Trujillo's table.
  • Dedé reminds Minerva not to drink anything she's offered, because it might be drugged, but she ignores her because she can't imagine they would drug her right there in front of everyone. She lifts her glass in a toast, and just then Trujillo shows up.
  • Trujillo takes out the Spanish ambassador's wife for the first dance, and Manuel de Moya asks Minerva.
  • She says she has a headache, and he offers her a calmante, a pill. Patria sees and brings her some calmantes. Just then Manuel de Moya shows up with his own aspirins, and is disappointed that she has her own pills.
  • Minerva finally agrees to dance with Manuel de Moya, and she actually enjoys herself.
  • Suddenly he whirls her over to Trujillo and they trade partners. Trujillo offers to bring her to the capital, and she says that she wants to study law at the university.
  • He asks her if she knows Virgilio Morales, and she lies and says she doesn't.
  • Trujillo makes some vulgar remarks, and Minerva slaps him on the face (what!).
  • Just then it starts raining and everyone starts running inside.
  • In the commotion the Mirabal family decides to leave. Minerva grabs a little ship centerpiece for Mate but forgets her purse at their table.
  • The next morning the Governor shows up at the house, directly from Trujillo's party. It turns out that El Jefe is super ticked off that they left early, a big no-no. He advises them to send a telegram apologizing, and they do.
  • The following day two soldiers come and say that Papá and Minerva have to go to meet with the Governor. Mamá insists on going with them.
  • It turns out that Papá is being summoned to the capital for questioning. He tells Minerva that he needs her to deliver money to a "client" every two weeks—it's code for his other family.
  • After he is taken away, the governor says that Minerva can help her father. (Yeah, by sleeping with Trujillo—yuck.)
  • Mamá and Minerva leave the governor's office indignant, and Mamá stops to pick up some medicine. Minerva takes the chance to drive out to her half sisters' and give their mother the money.
  • Minerva realizes that the girls don't know how to read or write. She asks their mother if she can enroll them in school when she gets back from the capital. Their mother, Carmen, agrees.
  • Minerva and her mother go to the capital and find out that Papá is in jail. They check into a hotel, then go to report his disappearance at the Office of Missing Persons.
  • Minerva helps a man fill out his forms. He has thirteen sons, all named Pablo Antonio Almonte so that if one of them is caught he can swear he isn't the brother that's wanted. She invents names for them to finish filling out his form, but they take so long that she ends up losing her place in line and has to come back the next day.
  • The next morning guards come and take Minerva in for questioning. This time they won't let her mother join her.
  • She meets with General Federico Fiallo, a toad-like man who questions her about Virgilio Morales.
  • She says that they are friends but they are no longer in communication.
  • Manuel de Moya comes in and urges her to have a "private conference" with El Jefe, but she refuses, saying her parents must join her.
  • Minerva and her mother are stuck in the hotel for three more weeks and then finally Papá is released.
  • He seems strange, talking crazy.
  • They go to meet with El Jefe, and Mamá mentions her uncle, Chiche, who is an old friend of Trujillo's.
  • He points to some dice and says they're a gift from Chiche. They're sitting on a balance, and Minerva realizes that they're loaded, which doesn't surprise her from her cheating great uncle.
  • She gets bold and asks Trujillo if he'll let her go study law. He says that they can toss the dice to decide. She grabs the loaded dice before he can and rolls a double.
  • Unfortunately, Trujillo uses the same set and also rolls double, so they call it even.
  • The family leaves the capital, driving home through the rain.

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