Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz

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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...
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