In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of In the Time of the Butterflies

Plot Summary Part 1

The four girls of the Mirabel family, Minerva, Patria, Marie Teresa, and Dede, grow up under the dictator Trujillo's rule in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is a backwards country on an island in the Caribbean. It's only a paradise when compared to its next door neighbor, Haiti.

The sisters pretty much have the same personalities so it is hard to tell them apart. Mirabel is the most militant and Dede is the most reserved. Mirabel hates General Trujillo who rules the D.R. as a dictator.

Minerva recalls how she and her sisters went to a religious school. The head nun told them not to urinate in their beds, and to come to her if they had "complications". Complications was the nun's choice of words for bleeding from the v_gina.

Click here to see the rest of this review

Minerva manages to violate both rules at the same time when she bleeds from her v_gina into her bed, heh heh.

Minerva meets an older girl named Lina. Minerva wants to know what she will look like when she grows boobs and a furry snatch so Lina takes off her clothes so she can see what a naked woman looks like. The entire scene had strong lesbian undertones; since there are no boys at this school the reader is given the impression that there is a lot of undercover rug munching going on.

The dictator Trujillo comes by to visit Lina. It seems Trujillo knows every person in the country and comes to visit every one of them. You will see this time and time again in the story, which makes the story feel very fake.

In this case Minerva is puzzled why Trujillo would be interested in Lina, a young student. When asked what they do together, Lina tells the girls that Trujillo reads her poetry, heh heh. Later Minerva learns that in addition to reading Lina poetry, Trujillo has also been banging Lina. Minerva is surprised to learn that the dictator's p_nis has been inside her friend's v_gina.

Lina gets pregnant but Mrs. Trujillo is not happy about it so Lina is sent to live in a mansion of her own where Trujillo can visit her--to read her more poetry, no doubt. I think "reading poetry" is a euphemism for sex in the Dominican Republic.

Minerva is worried that Trujillo will try to bone her next, so she wraps bandages around her breasts so they won't grow. It's Minerva's fondest wish that she be a flat-chested woman, heh heh.

Meanwhile Patria, one of Minerva's sister, is "astonished" to find that she had "high, firm breasts" and she stared at them in the mirror, then smiled at herself with "eyes full of yearning". It sounds like Patria has an itchy clit that just won't quit!

The nuns wanted Patria to become a nun, but Patria knew that nuns were not allowed to have sex. Patria said she would consider their proposal. But Patria started masturbating in bed at night, running her hand through her furry snatch and moaning like in a porn film. Then she met a guy named Pedrito, and Patria decided that, given a choice between a life worshipping God and a life of worshipping p_nis, she would much prefer p_nis.

Click below for more about In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Plot pg1 Plot pg2 Plot pg3 Plot pg4
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian