Good Book Review About Why Did Catalina Succeed In Living Life As Man
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Catalina de Erauso is well known for living her life as a man and only disclosed her sex after successfully living life as a man for several years. Catalina succeeded in living life of a man because of her masculine physical appearance, jobs and strong personality, and social circumstances. Catalina was born in Spain during the time when societies were dominated by the males and people were highly religious. During that time freedom to women was rare. All people including males were bounded by the strict rules and regulations. This paper will discuss why and how Catalina succeeded in living life of as a man.
Catalina de Erauso was born in an elite Basque family in year 1585. Her family was very traditional and part of oldest ethnic group of the country. Catalina was sent to convent when she was only four year to become a nun. At that time this was a common practice of people to show their loyalty towards Church. However, Catalina did not like the way she was beaten by a strong nun at the age of fifteen. Therefore, she decided to live life in her own way. Catalina escaped from the Church after stealing the key from her aunt’s cell, which was major turning point in her life. After escaping from convent, Catalina realized that life is not easy. It was difficult to manage food, clothes and other necessities. Catalina realized that life of a single girl is not easy in male dominating society. Catalina’s argument with doctor Francisco d Cerralta clearly reveals her difficulties “He argued and insisted to the point of laying his hands on me. With this, I decided to leave- and that is exactly what I did” (Erauso, p. 5). Catalina decided to hide her identity. Her physical appearance helped her in hiding her identity. Catalina slashed her hair, started bearing pants and shirts and walk like men. Catalina was tall, strong and masculine. She used to carry a sword with her which further added to her macho look. Catalina was not ugly, but it was difficult for people to recognize her sex if she dressed like a man. Catalina was not like other girls who are tender, soft, have sharp features and curvy body. Catalina physical appearance matched with her dressing, which helped her to hide her true identity (Erauso).
Catalina not only dressed like a man, but never hesitated to perform all jobs traditionally performed by men. Catalina performed different jobs such as page in the court, cabin boy, in charge of ship and retail store in-charge etc. She also served in military as soldier and fought for Spain causes. Catalina was never recognized by her employers while performing different roles. She always fulfilled her roles & responsibilities and matched to the expectation of her employers. Catalina faced different kinds of troubles at different levels, but never gave up. She also fought for her ego when scolded by a boy. Catalina’s masculine personality clearly get reflected when she said “"Uh, Señor Reyes!" He turned around and said, "What do you want?" I said, "This is the face that's getting slashed!", and gave him a slice across the face worth ten stitches” (Erauso, p. 12). Actions performed by Catalina never left a person feel that she was a women and not man. People who were working very closely with her such as her colleges and servants, also never realized her true gender. She delivered excellent performance in her duties that made her favourite of her employers.
Catalina’s life was never easy. She killed a man while fighting with her enemy Reyes. She also sent to the prison in this case. Catalina was tortured in the prison when asked about the episode and killer. In all adverse events Catalina stood tall like an oak. She never let people realized that she is a woman, hence need mercy. However, despite of all odds the verdict came in favour of Catalina. While her stay in Piscobamba, Catalina again got involved in murder of a men. However, due to lack of evidences she was released after twenty four days in prison. Catalina during her stay in Cuzco, got involved in fight with El Cid, which left her wounded. Catalina before receiving medical treatment confessed her past and complete story to Father Luis Ferrer De Valenicia. Father encouraged her and consoled her. Catalina survived after few months of treatments. Catalina in order to escape in other incident disclosed her sex to Bishop Agustin de Carvajal. She describes her meeting with Pope Urban VIII as “I kissed the feet of blessed pope Urban the Eight and told him in brief and as well as I could the story of my life and travels, the fact that I was a woman, and that I kept my virginity” (Erauso, p. 78). Pop after hearing her story granted her permission of cross dressing, which was not allowed during that time. Bishop asked her to live honestly without offending anyone. Catalina through her life dressed like men and also fought like a men. She died in year 1650, in new Rome, after serving different role and her country also.
After analyzing different aspects of the life of Catalina, it can be concluded that the Catalina was a great lady of her time. She succeeded to live like a men in a male dominating society. Various factors contributed positively for Catalina and facilitated her life as a man. Catalina has a tall and strong body like man. She was also very brave that allowed her to fight with different men and also in killing people who attacked her. Roles and jobs performed by the Catalina also displayed her manly personality. She never hesitated to perform the jobs that were primarily designed for the men. Catalina’s story inspired Pope who allowed her live like a men and perform roles that she was doing. Therefore, it can be said that Catalina’s life as a men was succeeded because of her appearance, dressing, personality, works and social circumstances.
Erauso, Catalina De. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World. Boston, MT: Beacon Press, 1996.
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