Catalina De Erauso Analysis

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Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World is a memoir by Catalina de Erauso detailing her experiences during the early 1600’s in South America and Spain. She was born in 1585 into a well off Basque family and her parents were native-born residents of San Sebastian Spain. This book is one of the earliest known autobiographies by a woman and details the events that took places when Catalina escaped a Basque convent dressed as a man. During this time she served as soldier in the Spanish army, traveling to Peru and Chile, and even becoming a gambler. Being that my major falls under sociology, I will be looking at themes surrounding the constraints of females in Spanish society in the 1600’s and how this affects Catalina.…show more content…
While she is on the convent she creates a disguise using the clothing available to her. This not only allows for her to hide her femininity, but it also allows for her to create a masculine façade. Throughout these two decades of living as a man, Catalina cultivates a masculine persona, and by the time this book comes to an end there are no traditional female characteristics obvious in her nature. During her time disguised as a man, De Erauso tests her disguise by going back to the convent where her mother and father are. No one at the convent recognizes her, which in turn boosts her confidence. The clothing she uses in her disguise is a symbol of the self, and the ability to transform her identity. Each piece of clothing mentioned throughout the book only reasserts her identity as a man and allows her to continue with the masquerade. Continuing with the themes of disguise and masculinity, a notable factor in this novel is Catalina’s sexual preference. As mentioned in class, it is not explicitly stated in the book what her sexual preference is while she is living as a man. In chapter 7 she describes herself as always having a taste for “pretty faces”, but I’m not sure that offers enough evidence of her sexual preference. Regardless of her sexual preference, the thought of a woman thinking that way about another female was seen as taboo in the
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