In "Woman Hollering Creek," La Gritona evolves from a beautiful, romantic creek into a symbol of strength and the overcoming of obstacles. When Cleofilas crosses it for the first time, she is perplexed by its name.
La Gritona. Such a funny name for such a lovely arroyo. But that's what they called the creek that ran behind her house.
No one seems to know how the stream got its name, "Woman Hollering," and Trini the laundromat attendant resents Cleofilas for asking.
Cleofilas, experiencing regular domestic abuse and beginning to suspect her husband of infidelity, becomes disillusioned with her new life in America. Her marriage is nothing like the telenovelas she grew up watching. Life has lost its luster, and Cleofilas has a baby on the way.
While at the doctor's office, Cleofilas meets a nurse who recognizes the signs of abuse. At the nurse's insistence, Cleofilas makes plans to run away. The nurse enlists her friend, Felice, to give Cleofilas a ride.
Once again, Cleofilas journeys over La Gritona, now a changed woman. She traveled over it the first time as a new bride, with an idealized view of romance and matrimony. Now, she is disillusioned but strong, strong enough to flee from her abuser.
Cleofilas's character development influences her perspective on La Gritona. After Felice yells while crossing the river, Cleofilas thinks about Felice's response. She thinks Felice is crazy, but she is also impressed with Felice's bold independence. Continuing her own journey to independence, Felice laughs. At first, La Gritona, like everything else in Cleofilas's new life, simply seems romantic. Through Cleofilas's marriage and subsequent disillusionment, however, the stream evolves into a new symbol. La Gritona stands for freedom, and that is reason to laugh.