25 pages 50 minutes read

Sandra Cisneros

Woman Hollering Creek

Fiction | Short Story Collection | Adult | Published in 1991

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Symbols & Motifs


Art is a powerful influence and outlet for many of the characters in the book. For Clemencia, in “Never Marry a Mexican,” and Lupe, in “Bien Pretty,” it is the driving purpose of their life and they have to deal with others who judge them for creating art instead of earning more money in a different profession. For Ruby, in “Remember the Alamo,” dance and music offer an escape from a confining female identity and a chance to try out a more powerful male persona. For the family in “Mexican Movies,” film is also an escape and a time of pleasant togetherness (even if the movie isn’t ideal or the theater isn’t clean). For the unnamed shopper in “Anguiano Religious Articles Rosaries Statues…,” selecting the perfect painting of La Virgen is crucial for their emotional health and spiritual well-being.


The idealized love affairs portrayed in campy telenovelas offer Cleofilas a temporary reprieve from her abusive marriage in “Woman Hollering Creek.” Though she is sophisticated intellectual, Lupe of “Bien Pretty” also succumbs to the temptation of telenovelas after her whirlwind romance with Flavio ends. Cleofilas knows all along that she is desperate for romantic and sexual passion.