What does the title of the story "Woman Hollering Creek" mean? Was the Woman Hollering Creek from I 10 by Texas?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title is an allusion to an old Mexican folk tale and foreshadows the journey of the main character in the story, Cleofilas. Cleofilas leaves her family in Mexico and moves across the border to get married. She thinks her life will be like the romantic Mexican telenovelas she has grown up watching. Instead, her husband is very abusive and she begins to identify with the "Woman Hollering Creek" that is near their house. The river is a real place located near I 10 in Texas. The legend behind the name of the creek, La Llorona, is the story of a woman who drowns her baby in the creek and then wanders the night hollering and crying. There are many different versions of the story, but basically, Cleofilias sees herself as the woman who is crying. She finally get a chance to escape when a woman named Felice offers her a ride back to her father's home. When Felice drives her truck over the creek, she hollers "like Tarzan", indicating not only freedom for Cleofilias but a great victory for women.

latinlover | Student

Sorry, I posted the wrong answer.

"Woman Hollering creek" symbolizes a Mexican Folks tale of a woman that drowns her baby in the the creek and then wanders around at night hollering and crying.

latinlover | Student

Cisneros employs much symbolism in the names she chooses for her characters. Notably, Cleofilas' neighborson either side are widowed women named Dolores and Soledad, which mean "sorrow" and "alone,"respectively. The two women who come to her aid are Graciela, which is a Hispanic version of the nameGrace, and Felice, which means "happiness." Cleofilas's name is clarified by Graciela, who tries to explain it to Felice over the phone: ''One of those Mexican saints, I guess. A martyr or something." This point is underscored by Jean Wyatt who notes that Mexican culture reveres women who suffer, as Cleofilas admiresthe tortured souls on the telenovelas.

The borderlands formed by Woman Hollering Creek are important images in Cisneros's story just as they are in the writing of many of her Chicana colleagues, such as Gloria Anzaldua. For people who live on the edges of cultures and languages different from their own, the concept of borders and borderlands is importantbecause it symbolizes places where life is hard and losses are monumental. Yet they are also places where the fluidity of cultures allows new formulations and transformations to occur. For example, Cleofilas did not imagine the changes that would take place in her life on the banks of Woman Hollering Creek when she was a teenager watching telenovelas in Mexico. Only by moving across the border through marriage, to the edges ofa linguistic community in which she is truly silenced by her inability to speak English, does she find herself in the care and company of two women like Graciela, her doctor, and Felice, her driver to safety.

Only through her contact with these women, who have found the space in the fluidity of the borderlands to recreate themselves outside of their assigned sex roles, can Cleofilas imagine a new life where suffering for love is not the central motive.

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Woman Hollering Creek

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