Letters from a Peruvian Woman Essay

1023 Words Sep 17th, 2013 5 Pages
Letters from a Peruvian Woman
Enlightenment can have various meanings but in the book Letters from a Peruvian Woman by Francoise De Gaffigny the definition of Enlightenment would be the attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight, which gives an individual a new perspective of another world/culture. In the book the main character Zilia is abducted from her Peruvian Empire where she has grown custom to their culture and lifestyle and taken to eighteenth century Europe. On her journey to Europe Zilia has many pleasant and frightful experiences as she records her adventure in a series of letters to her love Aza who remains in Peru. Unlike a frightened capture, Zilia is willing to learn the European ways and constantly compares the
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Zilia wants to expand her knowledge and possibly bring some of the modern culture back with her to the Peruvian Empire to share with her friends and family. “Dearest Aza, I shall bring you all that I can gather of these marvelous works, I shall explain them to you in our language, and I shall taste of the supreme happiness of providing a new pleasure to that which I love” (Gaffigny 89). Zilia is amazed that Celine does not seem to care about the men who created the books and how amazing it is that these men have done such a task.
The French culture is analyzed throughout the entire book and Zilia makes comparisons and differences between her people’s culture and the French culture. The French culture to Zilia is a very eye opening experience because she was unaware of any other culture than the Peruvian culture. In Zilia’s eyes wherever the sun would shine was the land of the Incas. “Even the Sun tricked me, for it illuminates the entire world, of which your domain occupies but a part, as do many other realms that make it up” (Gaffigny 81). Zilia is overwhelmed by the French’s mechanical ingenuity and luxury. At the beginning of the story you can see the Peruvians lack of knowledge of a more modern culture and their amazement to new things. When the Peruvians see the Spaniards horses for the first time they think the “tamed monsters” fed on metal, so they went and fetched all their gold and silver they

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