Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was a woman who made history throughout her time. As a young girl she taught herself how to read and write, later in life becoming a nun, philosopher, poet, and writer. There where many accomplishments in Sor Juana’s life. Although Sor Juana died at a young age, her work is still looked upon on today. She’s a symbol of bravery and intelligence. Though she didn’t live a long life we get to see the impact she made on women and men during her time, and the impact she continues to have on people today. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was born in San Miguel Nepantla, Tepetlixpa in Mexico and lived from 1651 through 1695.
From a vary early age Sor Juana craved knowledge. Before the age of five she showed a strong interest for books and writing. She strived to learn how to read and write. Sor Juana’s interest in education only grew stronger, so she asked her mom to be enrolled in Mexico City’s University disguised as a boy to get the education she wanted. Unsurprisingly her mother declined Sor Juana’s idea, but she did accept Sor Juana to study in Mexico City and get educated under a scholarly priest. Sor Juana was successful in Mexico City and it was there where she began to write poetry.
During Sor Juana’s stay in Mexico City she learned how to fluently speak and write Latin despite already speaking Spanish and Nahuatl. Sor Juana began to write Poetry in all three languages, and it is said that she would punish herself by cutting her hair short if she didn’t reach the educational goals she had set for herself [Alves:42:2015]. There are many speculations about Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, one popular speculation is that Sor Juana was a feminist. Several people have different points of views about weather Sor Juana was a feminist.
There are many people out there that truly believe and portray Sor Juana as a feminist, but there are people that can deny it as well. As I was doing research I came across many books and websites that listed Sor Juana as a feminist, more so than those who didn’t. In a popular poem titled “Redondillas” Sor Juana made sure to express her emotions towards men who seek pleasure in women. This poem became specially popular because many people viewed this poem as a feminist message Sor Juana had created to make women reflect and stand up for themselves, therefore, portraying Sor Juana as a feminist [Alves:44:2015].
There where several people who viewed Sor Juana’s writing and poetry as excellent and intriguing, but of course there where many others who viewed her work as unacceptable. Many circles in society and the church found Sor Juana threatening. Sor Juana’s writing and poetry was so intriguing and fascinating that she began to get a following from the great writing she was creating. A well known Bishop named Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz from Puebla wrote Sor Juana expressing all his thoughts on Sor Juana’s writing.
In the letter he explained to her that it was dangerous to express herself in such a way towards men. He continued to explain that women should not be “public” and pleaded that Sor Juana should bring an end to her writing and education. In the letter Manuel Fernandez also included that male scholars found Sor Juana intimidating for the skills and knowledge she portrayed through her writing. Sor Juana later wrote back to the Bishop explaining why it was important for her to continue writing, also expressing her thoughts that every women should have the right to study.
Sor Juana also included one of her famous quotes in the letter “One can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper” [Merrim: 206:2002]. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz found herself from a very early age, and it was then that she understood that in her future she would practice literature, poetry, and religion. This interest was present in Sor Juana’s life at an early age and it continued to follow her throughout her entire life. When Sor Juana arrived at the convent she had all the resources of a dedicated writer. Therefore, Sor Juana took advantage of this privilege and decided to put her writing to work.
In the convent Sor Juana found the time to dedicate herself to her studies and poetry. In fact, it was in the convent were Sor Juana created most of her poetry[Grossman:12:2015]. It’s amazing to look back at Sor Juana’s work and realize it was created during the 17th century. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz being the brave woman that she was published her controversial writing for the world during such a difficult era without any regrets. There was a lot of negativity that was given back to Sor Juana because of her brave actions, but there was positivity as well.
For every poem Sor Juana published, her positive support grew stronger. She began to gain a bigger following, and women became really interested in the poetry Sor Juana was publishing. In such hard times for women, Sor Juana’s work really influenced them to stand up for themselves and take actions to get an education. She influenced young girls who had a passion for literature and poetry just like she did. [Grossman:23:2015]. Behind convent walls and through her impeccable writing skills, Sor Juana grew to challenge the colonial Mexican authorities.
Despite the conflict that approached Sor Juana every time she published her work. Sor Juana found a voice through her poetry to encourage young women to fight for their education. This was a perfect time for young women to study the works of Sor Juana, because it was a time where woman had no opportunity in education or employment. The 17th century was a vary difficult time for women who craved education because they where turned down of any opportunity for simply being “women”. The 17th century didn’t present women with any opportunities.
Instead men viewed them as just “women” who should birth children and stay home to do the cooking and cleaning. This was the perfect era for women to come together and stick up for one another. Sor Juana’s poetry sent great messages for young women in this era because it was all they had to look up to. Young women where fascinated and impressed that Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a young nun was brave enough not only to stick up for herself and for what she believed but also stuck up for the young women who didn’t have opportunities in education.
Sor Juana was an influence for these young woman. An influential woman that openly expressed her opinion though writing, a woman who was not afraid to call out right from wrong. This is who Sor Juana Ines de la cruz was, a brave soul who influenced women in her time[kirk:08:2002]. Sor Juana’s poetry impacted people then and it continues to impact people now. One of Sor Juana’s most famous poems is “Hombres Necios” which translates to ” Foolish Men. ” This poem has a lot of significance behind it. This is a poem where we can clearly understand Sor Juana’s mind set.
Hombres Necios” was written with strong emotions, and it’s in this poem where we get to experience Sor Juana’s feeling towards men in the 17th century. This is the poem where Sor Juana argues for women, even though she never once uses the word “we” to specify that she speaks for all women. “Hombres Necios” is a clear message towards all men in that time. The poem openly states that men have a tendency of blaming women for situations they clearly put themselves through. The poem is easy to follow, and the message Sor Juana was implicating throughout it is clear.
Sor Juana repeats her point of views all throughout this poem, thus, stating clearly Sor Juana’s view on men. “Foolish Men” was just one of the many popular poems Sor Juana published. Among this poem there were many others that clearly state Sor Juana’s feelings[Luciani:46:2004]. “Respuesta a Sor Filotea” is also one of Sor Juana’s most well known work. “Respuesta a Sor Filotea” is also known as “Reply. ” It is in this letter that Sor Juana decides to respond to various issues. In “Respuesta a Sor Filotea” Sor Juana explains how her writings and studies where planned to help her grow intellectually.
She planned to study simply for the sake of learning. She continues to explain the urge that grows within her to study and continue learning. Sor Juana mentions that a superior mother in the convent refused to let her read. Sor Juana states that she obeyed the mother for three whole months, but couldn’t resist the energy that was so naturally growing inside her to continue with her studies. Sor Juana responds to the negativity by expressing that it’s their option to think of her in such a way, but that she’s simply sharing her opinions[Rappaport:92:2005].
It’s unclear what truly happened towards the end of Sor Juana’s life. This wouldn’t be the first time in history that the details in women history are scarce. During 1692-1693 Mexico had a big downfall with disease, and food riots which weekend the power of the court. In the following year of 1694 it is said that Sor Juana signed documents stating that she planned to donate all her books, maps, and instruments to be passed on and sold to help the poor. Of course this is a speculation on what is believed Sor Juana achieved to do in her later years.
Only one year later Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz died from a plague while nursing her sister nuns [http:// www. amazingwomeninhistory. com/sor-juana-ines-de-la-cruzself-taught-scholar-poet-spain/]. There are many reasons why people still look up to Sor Juana Ines de la cruz. It’s clear that Sor Juana made a great impact on people, as she continues to impact people still to this day. Bravery and intelligence followed Sor Juana all her life, and her work continues to make history. Her work will not be forgotten by those who are inspired by her message.