In the Time of the Butterflies

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Mercedes Reyes Camilo is the mother of the sisters. Mamá originally avoids trouble with Trujillo and wants her daughters to get married young, but later in life she becomes rebellious and outspoken. Originally illiterate and of the opinion that young women should get married, over time she learns to read and comes to believe that young women should be educated. She outlives the butterflies by 20 years, and helps raise their children.
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Mamá Character Timeline in In the Time of the Butterflies

The timeline below shows where the character Mamá appears in In the Time of the Butterflies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Dedé, 1994 and circa 1943
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...narrative shifts through Dedé’s memory back to sometime around 1943. The sisters and their parents, Mamá and Papá, are all sitting around in the yard and talking. Papá is drinking rum,... (full context)
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...says that she will make “men’s mouths water.” Patria then asks for her future, but Mamá stops Papá, saying that their priest, Padre Ignacio, disapproves of fortune telling. Minerva defends Papá... (full context)
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...school, and María Teresa says that she hopes her future will be in law too. Mamá says “just what we need, skirts in the law!” but Minerva says that that is... (full context)
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...is the only future Papá really told – María Teresa’s was just a joke, and Mamá stopped him before he could get to Patria and Minerva. Dedé feels a chill, as... (full context)
Chapter 2: Minerva, 1938, 1941, 1944
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...be a nun. Papá says that this is a “waste of a pretty girl,” but Mamá finally convinces him to at least send her to a convent school. Minerva then asks... (full context)
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Mamá doesn’t know how to read, though she pretends her eyesight is just bad, and she... (full context)
Chapter 3: This little book belongs to María Teresa, 1945 to 1946
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...so smart and good at arguing. María Teresa talks about her cousin Berto, who brought Mamá some flowers. (full context)
Chapter 4: Patria, 1946
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Minerva stops going to church unless Mamá forces her to. Minerva says that some of the priests are on “double payroll,” and... (full context)
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Mamá decides that the family should go on a pilgrimage to a town where there have... (full context)
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...stay with some distant relations. As they pray to the Virgin that night, Patria asks Mamá if Papá has “another woman,” and Mamá doesn’t deny it. Mamá laments that the Virgin... (full context)
Chapter 5: Dedé, 1994 and 1948
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Dedé returns to her memories of Virgilio, and she remembers how Mamá always complimented him and talked about politics with him. Dedé was slightly resentful that Mamá... (full context)
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Mamá gets angry at Minerva for this, and Minerva points out that Mamá had agreed with... (full context)
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...and criminals.” One day the police come to the Mirabal house asking for Lío, but Mamá (truthfully) says she hasn’t seen him in months. Dedé gets more frightened and feels her... (full context)
Chapter 6: Minerva, 1949
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...thrown by Trujillo himself, and there is a special request that Minerva appear as well. Mamá is frightened by this, as she worries that Trujillo now desires Minerva. She agrees to... (full context)
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The next scene is Mamá angrily condemning the governor’s proposition. Minerva drops her off and then goes to see Papá’s... (full context)
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Minerva and Mamá later drive to the capital to appeal on Papá’s behalf. They discover that he has... (full context)
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Mamá and Minerva are basically imprisoned after this, as they aren’t allowed to leave their hotel.... (full context)
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...letter of apology signed by the Mirabal family, and Trujillo mentions Chiche Reyes, who is Mamá’s uncle and a friend of Trujillo’s. Trujillo picks up his dice and says that Chiche... (full context)
Chapter 7: María Teresa, 1953 to 1958
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...decide between her cousins Berto and Raúl. Mate then writes out a letter she and Mamá wrote informing Trujillo of Papá’s death and thanking him for his “beneficent protection.” Mate reveals... (full context)
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...home with her boyfriend Manolo (who has broken off his engagement). Mate has been teaching Mamá to read. She mentions that the family has lost a lot of money since Papá... (full context)
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...Mate likes Manolo because he likes her food, and he is also tall and handsome. Mamá says that she is moving to a smaller house, so Dedé and Jaimito can have... (full context)
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...the university with Minerva in the fall, and she has gotten all her inheritance from Mamá, which she plans to use on clothes and save for her future. (full context)
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...she says that the Mirabals have been fine with the regime since Minerva’s speech and Mamá’s letter. Mate describes the first day of class. All the students have to march and... (full context)
Chapter 8: Patria, 1959
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...babies Minerva now checks the viewfinders of rifles. Noris is sent off to live with Mamá, and they use her room to hide the arsenal of weapons among her toys and... (full context)
Chapter 9: Dedé, 1994 and 1960
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...they went off to Jaimito’s mother’s house. Dedé saddles the horse and rides off to Mamá’s. The other sisters are there too for a meeting, but Dedé frantically says she needs... (full context)
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...starts rounding up members of Minerva’s group. Leandro is arrested first. The family gathers at Mamá’s house, and Mate tearfully explains what happened: the SIM broke down their door, dragged Leandro... (full context)
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The couple drives to Mamá’s house first, but they find the SIM already there. Captain Peña, head of the northern... (full context)
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Dedé and Jaimito return home, where Mamá is wailing and praying – she has learned of Minerva’s arrest because the SIM came... (full context)
Chapter 10: Patria, January to March 1960
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Patria is crazy with grief when she first comes to Mamá’s after losing everything, but soon she finds herself able to bear her “cross.” She keeps... (full context)
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...at the sky until Dedé comes and prays with her. It is strange living in Mamá’s new house, as everything is the same but all rearranged. In the hallway she has... (full context)
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That night Patria, Mamá, and Dedé assemble a care package for the girls. After Mamá goes to bed, Patria... (full context)
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...be secret but constantly leave traces of their existence or cough next to the window. Mamá leaves out a trashcan and ashtray so they stop littering in her yard. One night... (full context)
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...goes to Margarita’s pharmacy and delivers the care package for the prisoners. The next week Mamá and Dedé drive by the prison and see a towel they sent to Mate hanging... (full context)
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...he is making a peace offering, as he has been having trouble with her land. Mamá locks herself and the children in her room to avoid him, but Patria recognizes that... (full context)
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Mamá is overjoyed when she hears the news, but she refuses to have Peña eat a... (full context)
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...the capital and bring a sponsor on Nelson’s behalf. He asks about his dinner, and Mamá disparages him, but Patria tries to defend him as not so bad. She is worried... (full context)
Chapter 11: María Teresa, March to August 1960
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A few days later Mate is allowed a brief visit with Mamá, Patria, and Pedrito, and she learns about Nelson’s pardon. The next day Mate talks with... (full context)
Chapter 12: Minerva, August to November 25, 1960
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Minerva is especially disturbed by Peña’s visits, and she tries to hide from him until Mamá fetches her. The children get used to Peña and start calling him “Uncle.” One day... (full context)
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...Pedrito is still at the capital so Patria usually doesn’t come along. Before they left Mamá and Dedé had warned them of the danger of all three traveling together, but Minerva... (full context)
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On the way back they stop at a gas station and Minerva tries to call Mamá, but the line is busy. They delay and keep trying, and Minerva and Rufino have... (full context)
Epilogue: Dedé, 1994
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Dedé remembers the day she first heard the bad news, when Mamá called her to her house. At first she thought it was a fire, but when... (full context)
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Mamá lived for twenty years after her daughters’ deaths, and Dedé and Jaimito stayed together while... (full context)
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Mamá died peacefully, and her death seemed almost unreal to Dedé because it came without violence... (full context)