For my annotations on Sandra Cisneros’ story “Woman Hollering Creek,” I tracked four items–setting, physical objects/image, metaphors/similes, and point of view. However, I will only focus on two of them, those being “point of view” and the literary devices (primarily metaphors and similes). I chose to focus on these because of their impact on the story.
In the story, while mainly fixated on Cleófilas and her ‘new’ life, the point of view changes a couple of times. I found this to be an intriguing way to continue the story while providing another insight on the events that are unfolding. Aside from the view that describes Cleófilas in the regular third person, there are the ones that address a ‘you’ as if talking to the reader and one that goes to a completely different person. Despite the varying perspectives, it still focuses on Cleófilas and her story, moving the plot forward.
I found this to be interesting because it gave a look on how others saw Cleófilas and her circumstances. The point where the view changed the most dramatically was when the narrator became “Graciela.” This person is speaking to an acquaintance (referred to as “Felice”) and trying to convince them to help Cleófilas return home. From the phone call Graciela makes, we learn more of Cleófilas and her life, “Another one of those brides from across the border. And her family’s all in Mexico.” This POV ends with the friend ‘Felice’ agreeing to take Cleófilas to San Antonio. From there, it changes back to being more in Cleófilas’ mind.
Throughout the short story, the literary devices give further depth and emotion into the story. The men are labeled as being ‘dogs’ (“chasing their own tails before lying down to sleep, trying to find a way, a route, and out, and-finally-get some peace”) which includes her husband. She also describes him as “this rival, this keeper, this lord, this master, this husband till kingdom come” which shows how he is seen by her. He has a dominance over her, which is a major factor in why she does not leave even though she is miserable.
Cleófilas is shown to have been joyful after first getting married and heading off into what seemed to be a life that was just like in her novelas, “the first time as a newlywed…she had laughed.” Even though her relationship is souring and her husband is shown to act like an-pardon my language-extreme jerk to her, she “has to remind herself why she loves him when she changes the baby’s Pampers or when she mops the bathroom floor.” Cleófilas continues to try and look on the bright side, tries to keep imagining of the life she wishes she had. However, the situation gets worse, as he starts to harm her (and her baby) and others advise her that it would be best to leave.
Another important comparison is between Cleófilas and the creek. The interest (“how could Cleófilas explain to a woman like this why the name Woman Hollering fascinated her”) she has of ‘La Gritona’ could be because of how she feels-her growing desperation, sorrow, and longing to go back home and escape the life she is living. She relates the creek to the legend of ‘La Llorona’ (the weeping woman) and how it has “a voice all its own, all day and all night calling in its high, silver voice.” Even at the very end, she is compared to the creek, “it was gurgling out of her own throat, a long ribbon of laughter, like water.”
Like in this short story, we could experiment with alternating point of view, especially the one that seemed to be someone else’s commentary on the main character’s situation. I admired many other things in the story, but most particularly the way the creek and Cleófilas were connected and the importance of that creek in the story (hence the title). Also, how her yearning is portrayed through her primarily through her thoughts (like her interest in the creek and novelas). Sandra Cisneros utilized these methods well and created a story that evokes strong emotions and gives us an insight into a life that could very well exist.