The autobiography of Catalina de Erauso, The Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New  World, complicates the stereotypical image that many people have of a 17th century Spanish conquistador.  However, other than Catalina’s spectacular experiences of running away from a convent, fighting as a soldier, and escaping to the New World, Catalina de Erauso’s dreams and ambitions were not that different  from the ordinary experiences, dreams, and ambitions of male conquistadors like Columbus or Cortès. 

In your first essay of the quarter, reflect upon the ways that the Lieutenant Nun’s spectacular and ordinary experiences are both similar and different to the male conquistadors that we’ve learned about in class. 

  • In what ways did Catalina de Erauso challenge society’s expectations for a woman of Catalina’s age, race, and class status? 
  • In what ways did Catalina conform to society’s expectations for a male conquistador? 
  • How did Spanish colonization and the New World shape Catalina’s experiences?

Minimum length is 1,500 words.  Be sure to structure your essay in a traditional narrative format with an argument/thesis statement, introduction, body paragraphs with examples from the readings, and conclusion.  To cite passages from the reading, placing the page number in parenthesis is fine.

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