The Silent Protest

  • Jason Thomas Parker College of Arts & Science


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.

Author Biography

Jason Thomas Parker, College of Arts & Science
Jason T. Parker is a third-year student majoring in Spanish and Russian in the College of Arts & Science. A native of La Vergne, Tennessee, he is the recipient of the Ned McWherter and TopTenn Scholarships and is consistently honored on the Dean's List. In 2004, Parker completed an intensive eight-week Russian course at Indiana University. He recently studied abroad at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, and will pursue his interest in Spanish literature of the Spanish Civil War period through a competitive summer grant from the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program. He hopes to continue his academic studies in graduate school.
How to Cite
PARKER, Jason Thomas. The Silent Protest. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 1, may 2005. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 aug. 2019. doi:
Humanities and Social Sciences


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