Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories is a book of
short stories published in 1991 by San Antonio-based
Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros. The collection
reflects Cisneros's experience of being surrounded by
American influences while still being familially bound to her Mexican heritage as she grew-up north of the Mexico-US
Woman Hollering Creek and Other
These tales focus on the social role of women, and their
relationships with the men and other women in their lives. The majority of the characters are stereotypes: men embody
machismo while women are naïve and generally weak.
Cisneros focuses on three feminine clichés: the passive virgin, sinful seductress, and traitorous mother. Not properly
belonging to either Mexico or America, the Chicana
protagonists earnestly search for their identity, only to
discover abuse and shattered dreams. Apart from focusing
on these issues of struggling females, Cisneros simultaneously develops the readers' sensitivity towards the lives of
First edition cover
The vignettes are quite short on average; the longest is 29
pages, while the shortest is fewer than five paragraphs.
Despite such limited space, Cisneros experiments with daring poetic prose in her storytelling; for example, each story
presents a new character with a distinct literary voice and
style. Such writing has earned her the title of an accomplished Chicana poet, with the added credentials of her published
books of poetry My Wicked Wicked Ways (1987) and
Loose Woman (1994).
2 Plot summaries
Cover artist Susan Shapiro, Nivia Gonzales
April 3, 1991
From early on, a bond ran throughout Cisneros's family as a result of being separated from their homeland and having to live as Mexican-Americans in Chicago. Cisneros was born into a family of seven children and was often singled out as she was the only daughter. Despite the abundance of sibling playmates, Cisneros always felt lonely as a child, thus prompting her to begin creating stories to vary her daily routine. After many years of writing, Cisneros used Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories to explore the failed relationships of the female characters via their reactions to the men in their lives. This feminine focus in the stories may reflect Cisneros's own views on relationships, as she does not appear to have a strong connection to any male figures in her life: "For her, men seem to be a utility that a woman turns on and off as required." As the writing is from a Mexican-American immigrant's point of view, this feminism contends not only with the stereotype of gender, but of class and race as well. Cisneros "creates stories, not explanations or analyses or arguments", which describe her feminist views with "more provisional, personal, emotional, and intuitive forms of narrative". An example of her feminine focus is found in the title story "Woman Hollering Creek", which concentrates on a woman who is physically abused by her husband and feels drawn towards the nearby creek. She becomes depressed and sits beside the water with her new baby, contemplating how a woman could be driven crazy. Cisneros develops this tale, which has also been found slightly modified in Aztec, Greek, and Spanish cultures, from the legend of La Llorona (Spanish for "weeping woman"), a ghost story found in Mexico and Texas. In the myth, "a beautiful young woman named Maria falls in love and marries a handsome, rich boy, and their union is blessed with two sons...
References: April 3, 1991
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