Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Self-pity as a dominant emotion in Sor Juana's Reply to Sor Filotea de la Cruz Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz lived between the years 1648 and 1695. She was known for her prowess in poetry becoming a great colonial Latin American Poet…
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. Some of her works include This Sex Which Is Not One, Empenos De Una Casa (The Trials of a Household), Primero Sueno (first dream), Carta Atenagorica and Respuesta a Sor Filotea (response to Sor Filotea). In her response to Sor Filotea De La Cruz, Sor Juana brings out the dominant emotion, pity that reveals her feeling about the states of affairs in the society at that point in time. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz wrote Respuesta a Sor Filotea (response to Sor Filotea) in Spain. This was a reply to Sor Filotea De La Cruz (Cruz and Rappaport 314). Throughout the reply, we find heavy groveling to the feet of the bishop with apologies that include explanations of the pains that De La Cruz goes through at that time. Sor Juana wrote the reply at a time when her society favored men to women. Women were seen as incompetent and an inferior group in the society. They were given subordinate roles and were supposed to be submissive to men. Sor Juana was motivated by the betrayal of women in the society. She wrote with the intention of inspiring women not to succumb to the unfair treatments they were subjected to by the society (Cruz and Rappaport 314). One major aspect that Sor Juana used to push her idea forth was irony. Throughout the reply, she has used irony as her most important tool. Perhaps it was influenced by the place of a woman in the society. For example she states that, “…The first and to me the most insuperable is the question of how to respond to your immensely learned, prudent, devout, and loving letter” (De la Cruz 39). She uses this to show her feelings towards the dreadful deed that the bishop had done. She uses this ironical statement to show that despite the fact that the society thinks of women as stupid and incompetent people, they are intelligent and knowledgeable. Sor Juana decided to show her intelligence though a polite manner often apologizing and taking the submissive role just as a woman was supposed to behave (Cruz and Rappaport 314). Women were not allowed to talk. They were to do what men told them to do. De La Cruz says, “…I. . . was sorely tempted to take refuge in silence. But as silence is a negative thing, though it explains a great deal through the very stress of not explaining, we must assign some meaning to it that we may understand what the silence…” (De la Cruz 8). In the reply, Sor Juana tells the reader about the ways in which the society was determined to ensure that women remained helpless. The society did this by ensuring that it bound and suppressed them by maintaining a male dominant environment. The society discouraged women from attending school because they were supposed to sit at home, do home chores and take care of children. In her reply, Sor Juana shows that she had the desire to learn but the society could not support her because she was a woman. She says that, “no teacher besides books themselves.” (De la Cruz 53) She had to study books on her own without the help of teachers. On the other hand boys of her age went to school and were taught be teachers. It is because of her intelligence and hard work that she managed to pursue her goals. Sor Juana shows the reader the struggle she passed through teaching herself several subjects that she lists throughout the text. (De la Cruz 53). The society did not allow women to be educated or put their ideas in writing. The society did not find anything useful that women would write. Her reply clearly shows the society’s position on the right of women to study and their courage to affirm
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