Life In Mexico
In her many letters, and through her journals, Fanny Calderon de la Barca has
left us a very informative eyewitness account of nineteenth century Mexico.

Although these writings can be very useful in studying this period of time, it
is important to note some of the factors that may have affected what she wrote.

Fanny Calderon de la Barca\'s own social identity was one of the factors that had
the most profound impact on her writings and observations. It is because of this
social identity that her writings can be used advantageously as a source for
social history...However, it is the same social identity that will help alter
and be disadvantageous to using her work as a source for social history. Through
examples of her writing this paper will argue these merits and show how this
work can and can not be used as a source for social history. It is important to
understand Fanny de la Barca\'s social identity, in order to help clarify the
pros and con\'s of her work. She was the fifth child of ten born. Her father was
well to do landowner, as well as a legal writer in Scotland. Her mother was
related to the Earl of Buchan, in addition to other noble Scottish families
(pg.5). She was very well educated as a child. She did see and face some
adversity growing up. This adversity and experiences help to shape her social
identity, and her as a person. Her family went bankrupt, they were forced to
move, soon after her father passed away. Her family moved to Boston where the
remaining family members, her included, started a school. The school was
temporarily successful and then closed due to a mishap. The family then moved
yet again to Staten Island. Her childhood was filled with ups and downs.

Throughout it all she maintained a positive attitude and grew as a result. It is
obvious that losing a loved, especially one as close as a parent will have a
profound impact on a person. Seeing her family go bankrupt and having to move
many times has showed Fanny that anything can happen at anytime, even if your
are financially secure. Experiencing these ups and downs in her family life
helped to open her eyes to the trials and tribulations of others. This is
apparent in her writing. She was able to understand better and sympathize with
the people she would come in contact with. The moving around probably made her
later travelling life much easier to become accustomed to. She never really
settled anyplace for an extended period of time. Although Fanny was an outside
observer, she was able to work objectively on the many things she saw and people
she met. However, because of the time period she some times couldn\'t write
exactly what she wanted to, especially when it came to certain government
issues. Due to her husband\'s respected position in society she was able to meet
many important people, generals and leaders. They were received and treated with
respect just about everywhere. Sometimes even with a twenty-one gun salute, like
the one from the Jason. She was able to make observations of what she saw as
they traveled from place to place. This treatment had its own impact on her
writing. Although she noted some of the negative things that she saw, such as
the smoke blackened buildings on the way to Vera Cruz, etc., she and her husband
almost always stayed in a nice and comfortable place or house. This kept her
from witnessing and experiencing some of the problems firsthand. Also a lot of
the information she gathered was from generals and governors, people such as

Santa Anna. These were not true firsthand accounts from peasants and other lower
class families. For this reason her information may have been biased. She was
really analyzing the opinions of higher ups, and may have received tainted
information, or limited access, in certain situations. An example would have
been Mexico\'s breaking from Spain, the revolution and how it happened. Her own
childhood experiences may have helped her in using her own insight on certain
topics. This helped her form opinions where she may have been sheltered from
certain information. This also could have adversely biased her writings. It is
important to consider that these are Fanny\'s observations and opinions, and are
affected by her, and the experiences in her life. It is my opinion that although
she had seen and faced some adversity in life, Fanny basically led a sheltered
life. One of the best