Julia Alvarez

In the Time of the Butterflies

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In the Time of the Butterflies Chapters 10-12 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 10 Summary: Patria, January to March 1960

Patria is beside herself with grief after losing everything. In time, however, she finds consolation and learns to bear her “cross.” To strengthen herself, Patria repeats a Bible verse over and over again: “And on the third day He rose again” (201). After three days, however, the SIM arrest Mate. It will be three months before Patria sees her sisters, husband, or son again.

Patria must come to terms with her circumstances and readjust to life in Mamá’s new house, where everything is the same but rearranged. In the hallway, she finds the obligatory portrait of Trujillo. The picture now portrays El Jefe in his old age, however, looking fatter and tired from doing “all the bad things in life” (202).

As she is used to seeing the picture of Jesus next to the portrait of Trujillo, Patria sometimes says a prayer to El Jefe as she passes by his portrait. Soon, Patria starts doing this on purpose, as she wants something from Trujillo: her family’s safety. The only way she knows how to obtain it is through prayer. She also hopes that if she treats El Jefe kindly, he might start acting kindly too. Patria effectively prays for her family’s safety and offers herself as a “sacrificial lamb” in their place. Patria continues to pray to God as well, but only offers herself as sacrifice to Trujillo. With El Jefe, she knows what he wants from women, but is afraid of what God might ask of her.

Captain Peña visits the house regularly, and sometimes brings candy for the children. On one of his visits, he tells Patria that Pedrito was offered his freedom if he would divorce his Mirabal wife, but he refused. Peña laughs at Patria’s distress, and then leaves. They don’t eat the candy, but bury it instead.

The family does not receive any news about their imprisoned relatives for quite some time, until one day, the women, the men, and Nelson are all listed in the newspaper among 372 other detained prisoners. Patria and the others are relieved, as this means…

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