Sor juana ines de la cruz Essay

This essay has a total of 1205 words and 5 pages.

sor juana ines de la cruz

Truly the Americas' First Feminist?
Failing to Set a Precedent

In Estela Portillo Trambley's play Sor Juana the main character Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
was considered to be one of the earliest feminists. Sor Juana's eternal struggles to study
and unshakable craving for knowledge and wisdom, from whatever source it may be, support
this attribute. In my opinion however, there are also significant elements of the play
that suggest that Sor Juana would not be considered a true feminist. Of these reasons,
there are three major ones that I will analyze. The first reason is that Sor Juana gave up
her struggle for the acquirement of knowledge from books and settled for reading from
religiously accepted writing, essentially giving up what she had been originally fighting
for and abandoning her previous ideals. Secondly, Sor Juana only fought for herself and
what she wanted to pursue. She did not fight for other women or in other political,
economic, or social spheres. Finally, the play fails to identify how Sor Juana set any
kind of precedent or example by accomplishing anything that women before her had never
accomplished. In the remainder of this essay I will analyze how Trambley's representation
of Sor Juana is that of a woman concerned only with her own desires and also a woman that
gave up her struggle for personal

rights that she had once been so motivated to attain prior to setting any precedent for women as a group.
One major reason that I do not consider Sor Juana to be the "Americas' First Feminist" is
that she gave up her struggle for what she originally wanted so badly. In the beginning,
Sor Juana went through so much and worked so hard to learn and read and attain knowledge.
She seemed so strong, looking past being laughed at and not taken seriously and continuing
her quest to study. She began to give in and her original goals started to slip away. "…
and the Church will let me learn." (151). This quote illustrates how Sor Juana joined the
convent to be able to learn because she was not allowed to learn otherwise. Sor Juana
settled for life in a convent. She was then forced to live a stricter lifestyle and was
limited in her reading materials. It seems she complied with little struggle. Then she
felt guilty for having used God in the first place to help her achieve her goal. This led
to the abandonment of her original purpose altogether. Sor Juana says, "My whole life was
sinful…" (164), and "They accuse me of loving knowledge more than God." (171). Both of
these quotes show how Sor Juana used the Church to be able to learn rather than to
continue fighting for admittance into a university. This whole progression of events is
evidence that Sor Juana was never a true feminist. Although she was an assertive and
determined young woman earlier in life, Sor Juana learned to accept the way the world was,
abandoned what feminist ideals she had had, and devoted her later life to pleasing God and
being a good nun.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, as portrayed in Trambley's play is only concerned with her own
desires. She never shows interest in other women's rights and she never speaks to other
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