Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Harrison Meadows

Committee Members

Gregory Kaplan, Nuria Cruz-Cámara


This thesis analyzes various aspects of Catalina de Erauso’s Historia de la Monja Alférez, escrita por ella misma (1829). The first chapter explores notions of interior and exterior as categories that determine not only the protagonist’s movement in space but also their expression of self-identity over the course of the text, focalized through first-person narration. Additionally, the chapter brings to light how the interior narrative parallels Erauso’s desire to share their transformation from nun in a Spanish convent to a soldier in the Americas with picaresque tendencies. Erauso leverages the power of exterior appearances through the self-fashioning of their public persona which then leads into discussion of Erauso’s dual goal of their narrative—demonstrating the private and public narrative aspects. The second chapter analyzes the roles and social occupations that Erauso undertakes during their life and how these endeavors play into the gendered nature of the text. As the number of social and occupational identities embodied by Erauso grows over the course of the narrative, the leitmotif of staying versus fleeing emerges as an organizing plot device, which is examined in chapter three. This project stands to show Historia through a narrative-led analysis to better illustrate the intricacies of Erauso’s life and work, connecting the protagonist’s literary life to their personal trajectory.

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