Woman Hollering Creek

by Sandra Cisneros

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Why is Sandra Cisneros' story entitled "Woman Hollering Creek?"

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The short story, “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros derives its name from the creek that runs through the town that the main character, Cleofilas, moves to as a newlywed. Just as she is about to leave, her father promises he will always be there for her. This foreshadows what is to come. She leaves her father’s home in Mexico and crosses the bridge over the creek to be with her new husband Juan Pedro.

Unfortunately, her life is not what she anticipates, as her husband immediately turns abusive. Yet, Cleofilas suffers in silence about the abuse while her life plods on in a small house on the banks of the creek that her husband calls La Gritona. She often asks the townspeople about the origin of the creek’s name but it is unknown. After her first son arrives, she is drawn to the banks of the creek, which is a reference to a Mexican folk character, La Gritona, a woman who haunts a place, most often associated with water. She tries to find ways to punish men who treat women poorly.

The "Woman Hollering Creek" is symbolic of Cleofilas' life, the unknown that she experiences in her marriage. As the story closes, she is able to escape her married life. She is on her way back over the bridge to catch a bus back to Mexico, to her life with her father and brothers leaving her abusive husband behind. As she rides over the bridge with a strong, successful, single woman, the woman bellows, and Cleofilas releases a deep guttural, haunting laugh. She realizes that she is heading to a better life. The women literally holler as they cross the creek, leaving the unknown behind.

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