How would you summarize Sandra Cisneros' "Woman Hollering Creek?"

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dashing-danny-dillinger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Holler Creek” centers on Cleófilas, a young mother suffering in an isolated household from living with her abusive, abrasive husband. Cleófilas at one point had romantic aspirations for how she pictured her married life, but the harsh reality of her crass husband and her hopeless situation leave her feeling defeated. She seeks solace from two women in her neighborhood, Dolores and Soledad, but they too have their own remorseful memories of men. The abuse continues and worsens. Cleófilas considers going back to her father, but then realizes the social ramifications that would await her. In the most interesting passage of the story, she relates to La Llorona, the weeping woman who drowned her own children:

La Llorona calling to her. She is sure of it. Cleófilas sets the baby's Donald Duck blanket on the grass. Listens. The day sky turning to night. The baby pulling up fistfuls of grass and laughing. La Llorona. Wonders if something as quiet as this drives a woman to the darkness under the trees. (51)

Finally, Cleófilas’ physician sets up a way for her to escape. He contacts a woman named Felice to extract Cleófilas from her desperate situation. Cleófilas is amazed at how strong and free Felice is, and has a moment that is evocative of Hélène Cixous’ critical thoughts pertaining to feminine laughter, which appear in her seminal essay “The Laugh of the Medusa”: “It was gurgling out of her own throat, a long ribbon of laughter, like water” (56). Cleófilas is empowered by the end of the tale after witnessing Felice as a prime example of feminine strength and independence.

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Woman Hollering Creek

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