Woman hollering creek is a collection of short stories written by Sandra Cisneros in 1991.The stories are about the experiences of people living on the Mexican and United States border; they want to remain attached to their Mexican heritage but they are also lured by the American lifestyle. The woman hollering creek collection is about sexuality, gender representations, and the role of women and men in the society.
The characters are neither Mexican nor American, they undergo various challenges in search of an identity and the writer tries to create an understanding of the lives of the immigrants. Cisneros tends to focus on male dominance and heterosexuality a fact that is not surprising considering that she was the only girl in a family of seven children. She uses the stories to analyze the broken relationships of women and men in their lives.
Another writer Junot Diaz explores the same themes on sexuality role of men and women in society and basing their arguments on Mexican American immigrants in a collection of short stories “Drown”. The stories are rather depressing and awful as the writer describes the deformation of ethics, expectations and human activities as a result of the conditions brought about by migration. He explores a society where the fathers have all disappeared and the mothers are left to feed their families.
Diaz himself lived through this life and sometimes these stories seem to be an autobiography of his life using other characters. He uses boys to describe the life of growing up in poverty and with no stable family; the young boys are involved in drug peddling and other evils so as to support their families which the fathers have abandoned (Grossman, 8-24)
Cisneros seems to have no love for men; she does not have any stable relationship with one, not even her father .She says “For her, men seem to be a utility that a woman turns on and off as required.” (Cisneros, 152)
This is undermining the male gender as a whole without even considering class or race because she is a Mexican immigrant who has met men of various classes and races hence she can not be accused of discrimination. Her characters comprise of adolescent teenage girls, frustrated brides, devout women, encouraging allies and intensely skeptical women who get pleasure from devouring men.
She starts by exploring the innocence of her characters in their childhood and in the tale “MY Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn”, she presents a girl in Texas but from Mexico “Lucy Anguiano” her family is not financially well off, her mother works hard to cater for their lives while their father is never at home .He has abandoned the family and only passes by bringing nothing for them.
In the second part there two other narratives of a teenage girl fighting to stay put to the Mexican heritage while still being attracted to the American way of life. She meets an old man who lies to her that he is from the Mayan Clan which is a royal Mexican family line, he seduces her then ditches her only to return later to kill her. Blinded by her desire to be loved by a man of Mexican decent she ends up with a serial killer.
The writer shows how men take advantage of the innocence of young and unexposed girls who are guided by their wish to achieve what the society expects them to be. In the next part which has the tale “Women Hollering Creek” is titled “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman. “ In the tale she describes a Mexican lady who marries a Mexican man, she hopes to live a happy life in a fulfilling marriage .She is disappointed because after they cross the border Pedro becomes abusive, unfaithful and often abandons the family.
She becomes influenced by the Mexican legend of a woman who drowned her children and then herself because her husband abandoned them, but she does not choose death ;she chooses life and escapes back to Mexico with the help of two women who were providing for themselves hence making her realize she can survive without a man.
In the next story, she tells of a girl whose mother was raped and murdered, she becomes the mistress of a Mexican war revolutionary and had two children with him. The man is always away and “Ine” the girl keeps on hoping that one day he would settle down and provide for them, only to receive news of his death.
Finally in “Never Marry a Mexican”, she tells the tale of a girl who hated men of her decent and decides to go for other races, but unfortunately the other men too are no good either, she is abandoned by a white lover and she decides to revenge by having a love relationship with his son.
Cisneros explores how women try to bring change to the world by breaking the odds, marrying people of other races, they use their bodies as objects in an effort to battle male dominance but they end up abandoned and oppressed. These experiences makes them enlightened and exposed and therefore realize they can do without men after all. She uses the narrative mode but she changes it sometimes when needed enabling her to interlink both American and Mexican linguistic cultures (Cisneros, 235)
In his collection of stories The titles in the collection include “Ysrael”, “Fiesta, 1980”, “Aurora”, “Drown”, “Boyfriend”, “Edison, New Jersey”, “How to Date a Brown girl, Black girl, White girl, or Halfie”, “No Face”, and “Negocios”. Junot puts in to the picture a society that is living in poverty, young boys with no father figure and their struggles as immigrants in New Jersey.
He explains the suffering and pain of the mothers as they try to make ends meet for their families. In one of the most deep stories “: Negocios”, Junot explains the story of a man Ramon who migrates from Dominican Republic to the United States; he abandons the first family and starts a new one.
The writer tells the tale from the perspective of the mans son Yunior, and describes the life of an abandoned son who survives on boiled yucca and platano, suffering through humiliation, bewilderment, and the pain of growing up (Loss, 830-816)
The two writers comprehensively tackle the issue of male dominance and sexuality; characterizing most of the societies in the world. They are able to demonstrate how men are a source of misery for everyone, and especially where family matters are involved. The plight of women in society is also explored as we see many women come to the realization that men are not to be trusted and hence they decided to move on with their lives despite the conditions surrounding them.
These women undergo demeaning experiences as they try to search for comfort and appreciation from all races only to realize that all men are all alike despite the race or class. The two writers to some extent demean men and stereotype them because not all abandon their families or women but either way many at that time did hence the conclusion that male dominance is a very damaging aspect in a society.
The effects of male gender superiority are evident in the stories and although they are fictional these are experiences that some people have been through and still undergo in all societies worldwide. It is therefore the responsibility of the institutions in our societies to solve this problem, but it is still a challenge since most of them are lead by men.
Brown-Guillory, Elizabeth. Women of Color: Mother-daughter Relationships in 20th-century Literature. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1996. Print
Cisneros, Sandra. “Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories”. New York: Random House, 1991. Print
Grossman, Lev. “What to Watch For; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar War”. Time Magazine.2007:08-24.
Loss, Jacquelyn. “Junot Diaz.” Latino and Latina Writers”. Detroit: Charles Scribner and Sons, 2003. Print