Woman Hollering Creek

by Sandra Cisneros

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Critical Overview

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Cisneros's Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories received much attention when it was published in 1991. It was explicated in several literary journals, including Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Frontiers, and Heresies, and won acclaim in the mainstream press. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Bebe Moore Campbell gave the collection a favorable review, noting that in all the stories—and particularly the title story—"she uses the behavior of men as a catalyst that propels her women into a search deep within themselves for the love that men have failed to give them." Newsweek listed Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stones as the first of its seven books recommended for summer reading. Peter S. Prescott and Karen Springen summarized the collection in Newsweek: "Noisily, wittily, always compassionately, Cisneros surveys woman's condition—a condition that is both precisely Latina and general to women everywhere."

Jean Wyatt, in an essay for Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, said that in "Woman Hollering Creek," "Cisneros juxtaposes the heroines of contemporary Mexican telenovelas with the traditional figure La Llorona to imply that then, now, and always the ideals of femininity that Mexican popular culture presents to its women are models of pain and suffering." Jacqueline Doyle, in an essay titled "Haunting the Borderlands: La Llorona in Sandra Cisneros' s 'Woman Hollering Creek','' concentrated on the mythical figure of the Weeping Woman in the story. "Immersed in romance novels and the telenovelas, Cleofilas is initiated into a culture of weeping women, the tale of 'La Llorona' retold in countless ways around her. Cleofilas's own life begins to resemble La Llorona's, as she decodes and erases evidence of her husband's infidelities."

Harryette Mullen, in her essay "'A Silence Between Us Like a Language': The Untranslatability of Experience in Sandra Cisneros's 'Woman Hollering Creek'," concentrates on the author's portrayal of Mexican culture in the story. "Cisneros employs throughout the entire text of "Woman Hollering Creek" a network of epigraphs taken, not from the literary traditions of the United States or Europe or Latin America, but instead from Mexican ballads and romantic popular songs that circulate throughout, and indeed help constitute, Spanish-speaking communities."

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Essays and Criticism