Woman Hollering Creek

by Sandra Cisneros

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What images of women are depicted in Woman Hollering Creek and how do their names reflect these depictions?

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In Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros presents the reader with memorable snapshots of female characters at different ages and stages of life. Some of her most memorable subjects are Lucy, also known as "My Friend Lucy Who Smells Like Corn," and two girls named Patricia, one of whom goes by "Trish." In both of these stories, Cisneros uses nicknames to show how the women are perceived—or hope to be perceived—by their peers.

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In Women Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros presents the reader with portraits of women in three different stages of life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

One of the most poignant images of a child comes in the first story, "My Friend Lucy Who Smells Like Corn." An anonymous child narrator revels in spending time with Lucy, who lives in a large, lower class family filled with females. The narrator cherishes the chaos and messiness of her friend's home, the corn-tortilla smell of their kitchen, and the endless possibility for adventure she finds there.

In using the moniker "My Friend Lucy Who Smells Like Corn," Cisneros demonstrates how a quality that some would look down upon is embraced and loved by the narrator and suggests that the reader should also learn to celebrate the messy aspects of life.

In part 2, Cisneros presents the reader with two contrasting images of women: narrator Patricia and her tocaya, or "name twin," a classmate with the same name. The narrator spends much of the story analyzing her tocaya's life and the ways it is different from her own. The tocaya tries to differentiate herself from her classmates by wearing rhinestone earrings and high heels to school and speaking in a pronounced English accent. She also has to work at her family's taco shop; when the tocaya suddenly disappears, the narrator assumes she ran away because she was ashamed of working there and smelling like fried food.

One key detail is that the tocaya goes by "Trish" instead of Patricia; through this nickname, Cisneros demonstrates the divergent personalities of two women with similar life circumstances. One Patricia seems comfortable in her own skin, while the other strives to create a new identity.

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