The story “Woman Hollering Creek” is about a woman named Cleofilas, a lover of telenovelas, who married a man named Juan Pedro Martinez Sanchez. At first, Cleofilas thought her life would be perfect and follow the same structure such as the telenovelas she watched once she married a man. However, it was the exact opposite because she had married an abusive man who would cheat on her. When she was taken to the hospital with her second child, the nurses saw the signs of abuse and one of the nurses, Graciela, called her friend Felice to take Cleofilas back to Mexico to her father.
As Cleofilas was on her way, she was fascinated by Felice and made her happy to be away from her husband. Throughout the story, there were lines that divided it up as to separate the story into parts/episodes/scenes. The whole story is about Cleofilas who enjoys watching telenovelas and even wants her life to follow a similar type of structure/formula. However, her dreams are crushed once she married an abusive man who would meet the opposite of those expectations.
Since Cleofilas loved telenovelas, her story is told in the same way as it follows her daily life of being abused. This way of writing the story highlights Cleofilas’ love for telenovelas and how she applied it to her life. In addition, there are many references to the telenovelas Cleofilas had watched such as saying her husband didn’t “look like the men on the telenovelas” (49). The story is probably written this way to match the form of episodes of telenovelas to highlight Cleofilas’ interest mentioned constantly through the references of what she had seen.
In addition, Sandra Cisneros uses the third person throughout the story from time to time. This replicates the feeling of watching a telenovela through your own view as you are watching through the third person point of view when watching a telenovela since you do not hear the thoughts of a character. In the phone scene, the phone call is featured as a monologue despite the fact Graciela is calling Felice (54). In this scene, the only side you get to hear is Graciela rather than both sides.
The phone scene is written in the form of a monologue to either put the reader into the third person point of view in the scene or to put the reader into Cleofilas mind by describing what Graciela had said through her point of view. In a phone call, everyone else other than the caller normally does not hear the conversation from the other side. To put the character into that scene as Cleofilas or to keep the telenovela form, Cisneros writes the scene to feature a monologue to achieve that form.
If the purpose was to put the audience into Cleofilas’ perspective, it connects us to her to perhaps allow the audience to pity her for her misfortunes. When the narrator talks about Cleofilas’ potential future of moving to a new place and other things as a couple with her new husband, Cisneros used informal language along with short, abrupt sentences (45). The short sentences moves the reader quickly through the paragraph of a future. When Cisneros repeats the subject of marriage twice, it shows the narrator’s excitement as she describes an event that will happen.
In addition, Cisneros only dedicates two sentences related about the far future such as children. This seems to reflect the supposed quickness of how the future will come as the important events such as marriage take a much longer part of your life. Furthermore, the informal use of language also brings out her feeling of excitement as the narrator is now starting to lose her grasp on the language and can’t contain her excitement, causing her to improperly use a correct sentence structure.
When the narrator starts to describe Juan badly such as “the man who farts and belches and snores” (49), streaming is used. The narrator lists many of the things that describe Cleofilas’ husband negatively. This indicates the narrator’s frustration and complaints as the streaming seems to reflect the narrator listing her complaints with an angry tone. This use of streaming allows the narrator’s feelings of anger shine through as the tone of the sentence is full of anger towards Cleofilas’ husband.
Also, the narrator wrote that Cleofilas must stay with her husband “till kingdom comes” (49). This reference to the heaven, God’s kingdom/the kingdom of heaven, seems to indicate that Cleofilas is willing to die so that she can stay away from her husband. When she talks about her husband, there isn’t anything about staying with him or continuing to love him after death.
All she talks about is that Juan is her husband until she dies, indicating that death would lift her from her chains and further support that the narrator and Cleofilas feel he same about getting away from Juan due to his abusiveness. When Cleofilas recalls the parting with her father, she repeats the phrase “I am your father, I will never abandon you” (43) twice, the words of her father. In the beginning of the story, Cleofilas had left her father to marry a Juan. In the end, she eventually returns back to her father to escape her abusive husband. The phrase is repeated twice to probably indicate that those words would have some tremendous impact on Cleofilas’ decisions later in life.
The repetition indicates that those words would come back later in life, which is why Cleofilas, who left her father to find a man to marry, comes back to her father to escape that same man because her father would never abandon her. In the first paragraph, Cisneros uses streaming to replicate the large distance between Cleofilas and Juan as they want to become married despite the long distance between them (43). The long distance is highlighted by creating a long, drawn out sentence. It also seemed that Cleofilas was growing up and moving away to mature as a person, getting further away from her home and going out into the unknown.
This also brings out an introduction-like feel to the paragraph as the sentence was mainly descriptive while trying to provide context as to how the abuse all started, similar to a prologue, and drops us off in the middle of the Cleofilas’ life. As a result, we get a telenovela-like feel from reading “Woman Hollering Creek” Also, there is a single word or a short phrase in the beginning of each scene such as “La Gritona” (46). This format is used in a script to mainly indicate what the scene is or where it takes place.
Cisneros uses this to specifically use the format of a script and replicate a telenovela by using the same format of a script in her story. Due to Cleofilas’ love for telenovelas, the whole story is written like a telenovela with scenes and a script format to tell Cleofilas’ story as a telenovela. This results in a story that closely resembles a telenovela. In the bottom portion of page 53, Cisneros uses the third person to invoke pity in the audience. The whole thing is about the narrator pleading Juan to allow Cleofilas to go to the hospital to get the newborn ready.
This type of pity and considering the fact that the whole story is written in the form of a telenovela might be the Cleofilas’ interest and passion in the telenovelas reflected in the readers. The author probably wanted the audience to connect with Cleofilas through showing what she might be feeling in a telenovela due to her love for it. As a result, Cisneros writes the portion in third person to replicate passion and pity and a connection with the characters in the story as if they were watching a telenovela and connecting with those characters.