By Jimena Araya Esquivel - International Relations Student

Have you ever wondered about the first writers, the pioneers, of Latin American literature? If so, have you ever thought about women being part of those? In the late 16th century, the dissatisfaction from the criollos about colonialism started to arise, which meant that the same feeling was being portrayed in literature by writers at the time (Bautista & Corrales-Martin, 2004). In a way, we can say that it was not only the start of resilience in the region, but the start of a long path to celebrate independence for Latin American countries.

According to UNISDR (2005), resilience is “the capacity of a (…) society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt (…). Determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase this capacity for learning from past disaster for better future protection.” (Caverzan, 2014, p. 14). Resilience helps in the development of society and is a key element to face changes and challenges; it is for that reason that, for example, female representation in the 16th century was so important in the development and future of feminism. The knowledge and study of history and figures like Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz can help in teaching and inspiring resilience to the new generations.

The amount of resilience that people had to have during the 16th century was huge. They had to overcome all the injustice provoked by the Holy Inquisition; inequality and poverty were a problem present all over Latin America, however, countries like Mexico and Peru had major benefits over other countries. The criollos were the ones that impulse change and showed major resilience, since they didn’t have the conquest spirit of their ancestors, because it was their own land. Events, like the conquest, are challenges that Latin American society has had to overcome, all throughout history. They represent a time of great adversity, that without major figures, unity, and resilience, we might have never defeat (Bautista& Corrales-Martin, 2004).

Figures represent a very important pillar in the study of resilience, they set an example and inspire those who want to learn. Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, born in Mexico, was an exceptional writer and an example of resilience. She was very intelligent, and since she was young, she wanted to attend University, a place for men at the time. Even if she was underestimated because of her gender, she stood out, even gained a place in the Court. She fought for her ground and wrote literary works of art, that even gained her awards. All of that she might not have been able to do if she didn’t join a convent, as it was the only thing it could, somewhat, protect her intellectual liberty. By studying her, we realize how much of an example of resilience she is, as she dealt with adversity all of her life, which didn’t stop her in creating her own destiny. (Bautista, & Corrales-Martin, 2004).

It’s true that some people are just born resilient, that cannot be denied. However, it is also true that resilience can be learned. By understanding and studying, people can learn how to be resilient, Coutu (2002), summarizes it into 3 characteristics: “They accept the harsh realities facing them. They find meaning in terrible times. And they have an uncanny ability to improvise.” (p.1). Hence, by understanding how resilient people act, people can learn how to become one of them.

We have determined that resilience can be learned, which opens the question as to how. Latin American writers gives us works that portray how adversity was faced and set a model on how society has overcome the challenges. Hence studying and learning from example is vital if we want to create a stronger Latin America; and face the future with skills that can help in the building of a more assertive and powerful tomorrow.


MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (, producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.


• Bautista, G., & Corrales-Martin, N. (2004). Expresión Americana. In Pinceladas literarias hispanoamericanas (pp. 30-62). Wiley.
• Caverzan, A. (2014). Review on resilience in literature and standards for critical built-infrastructure. European Commission, Joint Research Center.
• Coutu, D. (2002). How Resilience Works. Harvard Business Review.