The Silent Protest

Jason Thomas Parker


Throughout the course of modern history, political and religious authoritarian structures have sought to maintain monopolistic control of ideological discourse by placing severe limitations on freedom of expression. Dissident writers have characteristically responded to formal censorship, however, through the adoption of new literary techniques that move beyond ideological limitations. An exemplary case of literary innovation in the presence of strict regulations is Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz, who lived as a Mexican nun during the seventeenth century. Through a joint examination of Sister Juana's life and the broader historical context for her literary voice, this article will explore several techniques and ideas found in her letter La Respuesta a Sor Filotea (1691). In particular, Sister Juana uses the concept of silence in her written work to promote intellectual equality for women and create a thematic space in which multiple perspectives can be voiced.


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; women's rights; dissidence in literature

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