Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories

by Sandra Cisneros

Paperback, 1992




Vintage (1992), Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries Ed March 1992, 192 pages


A collection of stories by Sandra Cisneros, the winner of the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. The lovingly drawn characters of these stories give voice to the vibrant and varied life on both sides of the Mexican border with tales of pure discovery, filled with moments of infinite and intimate wisdom.


½ (237 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member texbrown
Having grownup in Hawaii, the stories are not unlike those from the Islands accept the pidgin langauge. The stories paint a dismal picture and time where no one would want to be trapped.
LibraryThing member sspare
Wonderfully written syncretic short stories by a great voice in American literature.
LibraryThing member booksofcolor
Lyrical and powerful and it, along with "House on Mango Street" and her poetry, were very influential to me. My copy of the short stories was one she gave me after I told her a story at a signing, and she signed it in big loopy letters. I haven't followed her writing in recent years. I will have to
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change that.
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LibraryThing member debnance
I loved The House on Mango Street and very much wanted to read more of this author. The quality of the stories varied wildly, from excellent to poor. Even the weakest stories, however, are very successful in presenting a Hispanic-American viewpoint, a viewpoint that I have rarely seen in print and
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one that is needed in my part of the world.
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LibraryThing member rocketjk
Cisnero's style for these stories melds poetry and prose very effectively. Quite a few of the stories here are only 2 or 3 pages, in fact, and more prose poems than short stories. The collection as a whole adds up to a rewarding journey into the life of a Mexican American woman in the late 20th
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century. The stories deal with the joys and pains of love, of the difficulties of having the sort of duel ethnicity that sometimes leaves you wondering where you stand. Rather than being "both," sometimes it seems you're not either. At least that's how Cisnero portrays it. And then there are the varying joys and challenges of being a woman, in Mexican culture, in Mexican American culture, and in "mainstream" American culture. I guess though, what makes this collection rewarding after all, is Cisnero's wonderful writing, and the fact that at the root of it all, these stories are really about the joys and challenges of being human on the planet.

The only quibble I have is that I wished some of the short-short stories had continued on longer. There were some lovely ideas floating around that I wanted Cisneros to explore more deeply.
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LibraryThing member ko106
Cleofilas Hernandez, the main character of Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek,” is strong-willed yet deluded by the idea of a having a happy ending. Cleofilas leaves her family and siblings in Mexico to move to the United States and marry Juan Pedro. But what she doesn’t realize is
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just how different her life will be once she moves and how her life will be nothing like her favorite “telenovelas.”

Through the text, Cisneros is able to reveal to her readers how the life of a Mexican immigrant is extremely difficult. People constantly come to America in the hopes of living the “American Dream” and to gain true freedom. Cleofilas believes her life will start to mean something when she comes to America, but instead she lives a miserable life and her husband could care less about her and her well being. Juan Pedro abuses her constantly and even cheats on her, and things like this aren’t supposed to happen to people in America, or so Cleofilas thinks.

Being in America, Cleofilas should have a life filled with opportunities but that is not the case. She ends up having to return home, but at her own choice. Felicia, the woman who picks her up, takes her back to her hometown and on the drive back they pass over a creek called Woman Hollering Creek. The creek is meant to symbolize all the possible hardships that women must face and how they get through them. They can choose to either stay back or to face their fears. In Cleofilas case, she thankfully made it out alive and is able to start over. But that means she must leave the country where “everything is possible.” Although she may not have gotten the perfect ending she wanted, Cleofilas was able to get away from a life that could have been anything but happy.
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LibraryThing member duong111
When I think about a married woman and the impression of these two words, the first thing that comes to my mind is happiness; however, after I finished reading Sandra Cisneros’s short story, Woman Hollering Creek, I want to change the word happiness to flaw. The story is told through a woman’s
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perspective on marriage and the contrast between the ideals of marriage and its reality. Cleofilas Enriqueta DeLeon Hernandez is aware that one of the greatest aspects of a marriage is passion and ironically, passion is one of the many things that her marriage is lacking. This is quite obvious by her constant comparison of her being to the characters in telenovelas. Although in her mind, she thinks that those types of marriages can be attainable, she knows that with her current state, nothing is ever going to progress. To me, it seems as if she’s always looking for change or an improvement that will perhaps make her position of being a wife to be more presentable; however, this doesn’t change the fact that her marriage is completely flawed. For instance, towards the end of the story Cleofilas encounters Felice who essentially serves as her alter-ego. Felice’s character is simply a reflection to Cleofilas for she can only dream of being in Felice’s shoes rather than her own. It is pretty humorous to know that Cleofilas, a mother, a daughter, and a wife can be envious of a single woman that drives a pickup truck and yells when she passes the creek. Although her husband is not a bad man, she still gets beaten by him and even with a child; she realizes that she cannot acquire happiness. Cleoflias has to remind herself why she loves her husband and of course, a marriage cannot be successful if one of the partners constantly has to do the reminding. By forcing love upon a marriage, she will be setting herself and marriage to potential destruction. Even then, she continued to laugh, mingle, and show her husband affection. Her attempt of pushing the reality into being a perfect wife eventually failed when she realizes that hoping for passion in a marriage does not mean she’ll obtain it. As a matter of fact, her marriage (like a lot of other marriages) is drowned by expectations and flaws. These flaws are presented through Cisneros’s usage of short sentences such as “Not that he isn’t a good man.” And “Well, he’s always been husky” in order to declare a clear statement. Overall, I find this story to be extremely intriguing. As a woman, Cisneros made it really easy for me to understand the position of the main character. I learn how flawed a marriage can be and even though I’m not placing this label on every marriage out there, I know that the one that Cleoflias possess will eventually go down the drain.
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LibraryThing member mukai101
On the very surface, “Woman Hollering Creek” is a coming of age story, but after a deeper look into the story, it also says something about the role of women as a whole. During the span of the story, we see the main character, Cleofilas, make the transition from a young naïve woman into a
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disillusioned adult. Cleofilas imagined her marriage would be perfect, just like the ones she saw on telenovela. The images she had seen on these shows had influenced her impression of what marriage is like. Reading this story, it becomes apparent that the media’s glorified portrayal of life is not a new idea. Because the author comments on the social role of the media, the short story holds relevance today and will continue to hold relevance as long as there is media. After some time being married, Cleofilas, now finds herself in a situation opposite of what she had imagined. Portraying the potential harshness of reality, the author reveals that she is a victim of domestic violence. Her situation eventually worsens to the point where she is afraid to ask her husband for anything, even to see doctor for their unborn child. We also learn that she had thought about going back to her father, but rejected the idea because the societal norms at the time would not allow her. At the end of the story, the author goes on the opposite side of spectrum that Cleofilas is on and introduces Felice, the woman who is going to help her escape her husband. Unlike Cleofilas, Felice is an independent single-woman who drives her own truck and supports herself. Her character is interesting because she is almost a representation of what Cleofilas could have been if she had not married. But at the same time, Cleofilas is also a representation of what Felice could have potentially become. In short, this story is intriguing because it shows two women with opposite lives, and the fact that they get to interact with each other is what makes it successful.
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LibraryThing member koconnell614
In Sandra Ciserno’s Woman Hollering Creek, there are many symbols and metaphors that relate to the womanhood and to what is expected as a social norm. One example of this social norm occurs when Cleofilas goes with her husband to the Ice House and during this time all she does is “sits mute
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beside their conversation, waits and sips a beer until it grows warm (…) smiles, yawns, politely grins (…) leans against her husband’s sleeve, tugs at his elbow”. Each one of these is a social norm of being subservient towards her husband and to never act out or speak on her own, all she is allowed to do is sit quietly and agree with her husband. This social norm is broken through Cleofilas’ alter ego Feliz. Instead of being married or having kids of her own and living the life of a housewife she is a single women driving her own pick-up truck. The author has this character to show that women are strong and powerful without husbands or men in their life, that they are free to do whatever they want to do. As they cross the creek, Feliz hollers in laughter and joy. Ciserno’s character is free and enjoying life to portray an archetype of freedom and power. This short story is extremely interesting and there are plenty more symbols, metaphors, and motifs that occur throughout the novel but it really shows a different side to how women should act in society and the author conveys that meaning through these symbols.
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LibraryThing member peck107
In Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros takes a non-traditional approach to a traditional theme. Altering the typical coming of age short story, Cisneros shows how the main character, Cleofilas, matures from her childish dreams, mentally and physically. Before Cleofilas becomes married, she
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dreams of having money and happiness with Juan Pedro. She believes that she will be able to “wear outfits like the women on the tele, like Lucia Mendez. And have a lovely house” (345). Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. In fact, they barely have enough money to pay for their house, bills and the large loan that Juan Pedro took out to pay for his new truck. Symbolizing this coming of age however is the Woman Hollering Creek. Cleofilas believes that the woman is hollering out of pain or anger because of her painful and difficult life. However, Felice teaches her that sometimes being non traditional is the best way to interpret questionable things in your life. Cisneros also shows how Cleofilas transform from a child as she is physically taken from over the threshold to her new life. From one threshold to the next, she is beaten by her husband who she does not love and grows immensely through the experiences she encounters.
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LibraryThing member camer111
The story of Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros is a story of challenging cultural norms rather than submitting to them. The narrator, Cleofilas, is a young women being challenged by the social norms women are given, in the Latin culture. She is beaten by her husband and doesn’t stand up to
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him. This is because women are shut down and in a way “belong” to men. Before women are married they are under their fathers and when they do get married they are under their husband. This story is a coming of age story but goes much more deeper than just growing up, it shows a trapped girl that its possible to be her own women and not be a man’s woman. Cleofilas is shown this through meeting a young independent woman, Felice, who challenges all the norms of womanhood. An example would be when the two women cross the creek, they have opposite views of what woman hollering means to them. Felice believes that hollering is expressing her voice, where Cleofilas took hollering as rage and pain. Felice is a symbol to the narrator that independence, happiness, and not submitting to the social norms of women could lead to a better overall life for her. This story should be read with a very modern view of how women should be treated and fulfill life.
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LibraryThing member cmfonfara
In this story, there is a sharp contrast between reality and fantasy, and it is part of the main character’s growth throughout he story that overcomes the gap between the two. The main character is stuck in a life that she finds unsatisfying, especially compared to the passionate lives she sees
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unfold on her favorite soap operas, and her escapist interests fuel her unhappiness with her everyday life. I interpreted this repressed desire as a manifestation of a sort of childlike view of love and marriage that is what eventually opens the protagonists eyes to a different type of lifestyle where she could be just as happy as she wished, just not through the same means as she has most likely been planning from an early age. I thoroughly enjoy this sort of “coming of age” type story, because I know that I and many others have gone through similar tales of enlightenment where we discover that life isn’t the way it is shown in books and on television, but it may very well be just as good or better, without the drama and intrigue that often embellish the lives of the people we follow through literature or television. This is a tragic example of a tale of disillusionment with the lifestyle that is often pushed on people by society and the media. That is why this short story is a compelling and relatable story for anyone who has ever fantasized about a different kind of life before realizing that real life can be just as amazing as all of the fictional characters in society seem to find it if approached in the right way.
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LibraryThing member cma1991
“Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros is a simple and great piece of literature. Similar to her, “House on Mango Street” which I read in 9th grade, Cisneros demonstrates a great use of style. Her style is undeniabily original, in the fact that nobody can recreate it, and once you know
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her style, you don’t forget it. Her to the point sentences and easy to follow structure make it a great ride for most reading levels, which allows people of all ages to understand this different culture she attempts to bring to Americans eyes. The first time I was introduced to her work was with “House on Mango Street” and it completely changed my view of Hispanic immigrants. I think if I had read Woman Hollering Creek it would have been the same reaction, but possibly even stronger because her plot is more dramatic and characters are more developed, even in spite of its short length. I appreciate and value her ability to take the reader into their lives, and allow us to understand the culture better. Through the characters struggles, we see the theme of women being powerful and strong and working to overcome what is wrong in their lives and fixing it; as an example, the fear of her father leaving her mother for another woman.
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LibraryThing member bagambo
Brilliant collection of short stories by one of Chicana literature's most renowned authors. There are tales of identity politics (being Mexican and American and living within each culture), relationships (between men and women and women and women), and domestic violence. Each story brings a new
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character with a new voice and a new life to read about. Prose like in writing style, this collection is a perfect example of the creativity and intelligence that Cisneros' writing exhibits. A must read for any lover of literature!!
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LibraryThing member newar100
I really enjoyed Woman Hollering Creek, by Sandra Cisneros. The story was incredibly relatable to me. The main character is a young girl who is looking for love and once she finds it she is terribly unhappy. As a young girl myself, I feel the pressures from society of what true love is supposed to
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be and that you can only find happiness when you are in love. Cleofilas is like your average teenage girl, trying to find her happy ending. Cisneros creates this character to portray how young girls feel while growing up. It is a coming of age story. There are many controversial issues in the story and it is very far from a happy ending, Cleofilas experiences domestic violence, loneliness, abandonment, the burden of responsibility, and because of all these things she is forced to grow up way too fast. Her naïve, idealistic views on love change drastically over a short period of marriage. There is a major difference between her ideal reality and the one she is living in. She has to deal with her reputation and women talking about her behind her back. She does not want her family to think badly of her and she does not want to disappoint them. This story is all about the paternal hierarchy and how it affects the female population. Men dominate the women in this society.
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LibraryThing member danes102
Sandra Cisneros’s “Woman Hollering Creek” combines the traditional values of a Mexican family and contrasts them with a non-traditional woman figure. Cleofilas starts the story as a innocent girl falls under the spell that telenovelas depict the reality of life. She leaves her traditional
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values behind by crossing the creek and becomes hostage to this telenovela fantasy, but soon realizes it is a fluke when things become unbearable with her husband. Cleofilas fears leaving her husband because of her traditional values, but she finally comes to terms and decides to return home. A woman named Felice decides to take her back across the creek so she can return home. Cisneros uses the character of Felice to serve as a model of who Cleofilas wants to be. She’s not the typical woman, driving a pick-up truck and giving Cleofilas a new way to see the creek. She had always thought of anger or pain referring to Woman Hollering Creek, but Felice gave her a new look at it. It’s almost as if Felice causes Cleofilas’s transformation as they cross the threshold over the creek. This story is a coming of age tale. Cleofilas progresses over the story from an innocent woman who still dreams of perfect marriages and fantasy to finally accepting reality and becoming a much more independent woman. This short story uses the combination of two women of opposite values to convert one into the powerful woman figure that other women aspire to be.
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LibraryThing member schwa144
“Woman Hollering Creek”, by Sandra Cisneros, tells the story of Cleofilas and her attempt to become a stronger woman, by leaving her troubled marriage. Cisneros shows how Cleofilas becomes a more independent woman, by describing different cultural norms that pertain to women, in a Mexican
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community. Cisneros described some of these cultural norms, like the watching of the telenovelas and the women gossiping, but she also describes how some women were able to break from the cultural norms and live their life as they choose. Felice is one of these women, because she is an independent woman that does not rely on a man. Felice drives a pick up truck, makes her own money, and is not married. Felice is the opposite of Cleofilas, thus representing the type of woman that Cleofilas wants to be in her new life. Felice is not the standard Mexican woman that Cisneros describes in the story. While Cleofilas was living in her telenovelas, Felice was actually one of the strong women that the telenovelas portray. When Felice hollers while passing over the creek, she is expressing her voice and is not afraid of what the rest of the community thinks about her. Cisneros’ characterization of Felice suggests that she is the ‘rebel’ of the community because she does not conform to the societies view of the women. By the end of the story, Cleofilas realizes that she is able to live her life like the strong women that she sees in the telenovelas, but only after she meets Felice, and starts laughing again.
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LibraryThing member schwi101
In Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek, the narrator tells of a trapped woman who marries an abusive husband, bears a child and does nothing but wish to escape the grips of her husband. The short story is structured in short paragraphs, constantly jumping from idea to idea each one seeming to have no
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real importance to the narrator. This expresses that the narrator might be young and not have a great attention span. She might not be as reliable a source since she seems to not have any real interest in this topic. But I am not exactly sure how this connects to the theme. When the father is giving his farewell to Cleófilas she is barely paying attention, giving off the impression that she is has no interest and cannot wait to leave. After the wedding the newly weds cross over a creek that is named La Gritona (the loud). When Cleófilas is finally escaping her abusive husband she also drives over the creek. I think the flowing water represents the washing away of her problems and beginning a new life. When she first crosses she is leaving her father’s house to live with her husband and in the end escapes her abusive husband. The second time to cross the bring is more symbolic because the driver of the car yells outside the window. This demonstrates her freedom and how she is not trapped. Cleófilas is so happy to break free from her husband and can finally experience “passion”. Throughout this story Cleófilas struggles to find her own strength to fight for her path in life.
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LibraryThing member hoffm130
In Sandra Cisneros’ short story Woman Hollering Creek she uses a the obvious symbolism of a creek with the name “woman hollering creek” to display the affects of an abusive relationships of a woman’s life. Towards the end of the of short story Cisneros’ makes remark about how nothing in
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the town is every named after a women except that creek and that why is give some of the women excitement to drive over them. It give them a feeling a freedom the are finally starting to feel some equality. They literally want to holler like tarzan as she writes. When during the tiem the piece was written men did not want women who had ever hollered in their lives. They wanted virgins.
Cleofilas had the American dream of getting married having kids and living happily ever after, however after happing the hollering creek her husband made her holler in every way possible, and took this dream away from her. He beat her and forced himself on her which she only consented to some of the time, leaving marks all over her.
Cisnero allows readers to follow with the flow of the happiness being taken away in the flow of her sentence structure. In the beginning of the short story she uses long flowing sentences depicting the delight and pleasure Cleofilas is feeling about becoming a newly wed. However as her husbands evil shadow begins to become a burden the structure changes to short choppy sentences of fear and worry.
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LibraryThing member Bookish59
Read and enjoyed a few stories but felt My Friend Lucy who Smells like Corn was incomplete. I loved Salvator Late or Early. It is beautiful, spare but so descriptive. Mexican Movies was another sweet story. But a few others I didn't care for and didn't connect with.
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
I love Cisneros's writing. This is clearly poetic in nature, and there is really no plot. But she paints a vivid picture. This is a series of essays, set in the US and in Mexico. Cisneros uses a lot of Spanish in these stories and most of my book club members (both book clubs) did not appreciate
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them very much. But I find her works immensely enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
I didn't know what this was when I downloaded it. I'm not in the mood for love poetry and definitely not in the mood for love poetry read by a breathy 13 year old voice. Abandoned.
LibraryThing member rgruberhighschool
RGG: Lovely collection of short stories. Written for an adult audience. Reading Interest: YA+-Adult
LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
Cisneros has an excellent command of voice and this collection highlights her ability to draw on similar themes that are renewed with each new perspective in the writing. She has an unflinching and deeply rooted way of writing about the experiences of women in the Latinx community that captures the
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struggles, certainly, and their strength and hope in poetic, fragmented pieces.
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LibraryThing member dmturner
Amazing. "And every bird in the universe chittering, jabbering, clucking, chirruping, squawking, gurgling, going crazy because God-bless-it another day has ended, as if it never had yesterday and never will again tomorrow. Just because it's today, today. With no thought of the future or past.
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Today. Hurray. Hurray!

A book about being a woman, mostly, and also about Mexican-American culture.
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LA Times Book Prize (Finalist — Fiction — 1991)
PEN Center USA Literary Award (Winner — Fiction — 1992)
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (Fiction — 1993)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

192 p.; 7.94 inches


0679738568 / 9780679738565
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