Witnessing Other's Culture in Woman Hollering Creek

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A multi-platformed writer, composing novels, poems, and essays, Sandra Cisneros whips up various pieces of literature in order to place the lives of the working class on a pedestal for all to recognize and understand. On December 20th, 1954, Sandra was born in Chicago, Illinois to Mexican American mother, Elvira Cordero Anguiano and Mexican father, Alfredo Cisneros de Moral. (American Writers, 57) Being the only daughter of 7, Sandra spent a lot of time to herself, resulting in an ever-growing fondness of books. Due to the early exposure to books, Sandra took up writing poetry and proceeded to recite them in coffee shops around Chicago in which gained her quite the extensive popularity. (About Sandra Cisneros, pg. 1) As her work became more well-known, successful novelists began to take notice of her; novelists such as Mexican- American novelist Gary Soto. Gary proceeded to encourage Sandra to publish her works in which triggered her first piece of work, a collection of poems titled My Wicked Wicked Ways in 1987. (American Writers, pg. 57) After this publication, the rest was history. Cisneros invested a lot of time in hearing out minority students especially at Loyola University and, in doing so, gained valuable information on the lives of the families of the working class. In 1984, with the experiences of the students she counseled in mind, Cisneros wrote 6-million-copies-sold-book, The House On Mango Street. The House On Mango Street is Cisneros’most successful book, reeling in awards such as the Before Columbus American Book Award and a Paisano Do-bie Fellowship grant. 

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Following this book in 1991, Cisneros wrote and published Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories receiving the Lannan Literacy Award as well as guest professorship at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. (American Writers, pg. 57) Sociologist Criticism Woman Hollering Creek is a story written in the 3rd person narrative perspective, which is highly unusual of Cisneros as she is widely identified as a first-person writer. Within the story, a young, Mexican woman named Cleofilas marries a Mexican American man and crosses the border to live with him in Seguin, Texas. Themes highlighted within the tale include “Cultural Boundaries” and “Love”. 

Of course, moving into another country and lifestyle results in witnessing a different culture than the one you were brought up in. For example, in the story, Cleofilas newlywed husband, Juan Pedrito, slaps her until her lip busts over her laughing at the name of a creek. This is an example of a cultural boundary as, in the olden southwest America it was normal for men to beat their women since women were believed to be nothing more than property then. This behavior is so shocking to Cleofilas as she has no clue how to react to what Juan Pedrito just did to her, being she was raised in a Mexican family where her father never once laid an unloving finger upon her mother. “..he slapped her once, and then again, and again… In her own home her parents had never raised a hand to each other or their children.”  

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