What is the poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's attitude toward the power of language and how does she convey this attitude?

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Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's attitude toward the power of language is conveyed by her careful attention to diction (word choice) as well as the manner in which she presents her ideas and the topics of her poetry.

...her love poetry is intellectual and expressed in careful, mannered, and elegant language.

Her intellectual capacity is also recognized in that she was able to write skillfully in most of the poetic forms popular in her day, and in that...

...she cleverly displays the customary poetic devices of the age...

It is a reflection of her dedication to the complexities and power of language and poetic skill that she was capable of employing some rather sophisticated literary devices, including...

...parallelism, oxymoron, paradox, mythological allusion (even in her religious poetry), and metaphors drawn from physics, mathematics, and music...

Thematically, Sor Juana's religious and love poetry are directed to forward-thinking concepts of women's rights in terms of their equality to men, particularly with regard to becoming educated and pursuing the life of a scholar—something neither accepted nor provided for in the lives of most women of her era and society.

What sets her poetry apart from all other of the time is her theme: the equality of women and their right to an education and an intellectual life.

(It should be noted that Sor Juana spent a good deal of time at court in her younger years (before taking vows) and also came from a family of means, both of which allowed for her own eduction.)

Sor Juana's writing is precise, appropriate to her time and delivered with "elegant language." She artfully utilizes the poetic devices of the day, showing that she was well-educated, well-studied and adept at using language to her best advantage. In that she took the time to be so careful and concise with her use of language, we can logically assume that she was not only able to author greatly admired poetry, but had at her disposal devices that would enable to express herself with clarity, purpose and power with regard to her unusual themes (not only as a woman, but also as a member of the religious community—a nun). We can infer by this that she realized the extreme importance of language in sharing her ideas. Because she was often writing about controversial themes, we can infer again that this gifted scholar was aware that her language had to be exact, decisive and specific in every facet of her writing, especially when many members of her audience might be offended by the content of her poetry.

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