Woman Hollering Creek

by Sandra Cisneros

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What are some direct quotes showing Cleofilas' abuse in Woman Hollering Creek?

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There are many different kinds of abuse, including physical, emotional, and verbal. In the fourth paragraph of the story, we find out that Juan Pedro was often gone until late at night. His absence was a sign of abuse, as he neglected both his wife and his child.

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begin to see evidence that something is wrong when we first learn details of the wedding. No one is completely sure where Juan Pedro works. We see that he doesn't always tell the truth and is already manipulative and deceptive:

. . . then they will drive off in his new pickup—did you see it?—to their new home in Seguin. Well, not exactly new, but they're going to repaint the house.

The first evidence of physical abuse is stated indirectly:

The first time she had been so surprised she didn't cry out or try to defend herself. She had always said she would strike back if a man, any man, were to strike her.

As the story continues we get more details. Three slaps, and Cleofilas bled from the hits. The physical abuse was instantly followed by emotional abuse:

. . . stroked the dark curls of the man who wept, and would weep like a child, his tears of repentance and shame, this time and each.

Not only did Juan Pedro hit his wife, but he then forced her to comfort him, and put on shows of false repentance, possibly making her feel guilty and trapped. Juan Pedro abuses Cleofilas by hitting her, yelling at her, demanding impossible standards, ignoring her, and cheating on her. You can pull tons of quotes from throughout the story.

Here is a final quote which shows some of the layers of his abuse and the conflict that Cleofilas finds herself in as she tries to understand what is happening and what went wrong:

. . . this man, this father, this rival, this keeper, this lord, this master, this husband till kingdom come.

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There are a number of quotes that describe Cleofilas' abuse, which was both physical and mental. 

Soon after her marriage, "the moment came, and he slapped her once, and then again, and again; until the lip split and bled an orchid of blood". 

Then later, symbolically profaning all her dreams, "He had thrown a book.  Hers.  From across the room.  A hot welt across the cheek.  She could forgive that.  But what stung more was the fact that it was her book, a love story...what she loved most now".

Cleofilas' husband cheated on her while she was delivering his first child - "A doubt.  Slender as a hair...No.  Her imagination...Coming home...something comforting...Her pillow.  Their bed...Sweet sweet homecoming.  Sweet as the scent of face powder in the air, jasmine, sticky liquor...smudged fingerprint...Crushed cigarette in a glass".

Cleofilas has to beg her husband to let her go to the doctor when she is pregnant again.  She promises "not to mention it", she will "say she fell down the front steps, or slipped...".  But the doctor finds "this poor lady's got black and blue marks all over".

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