Creek Essay, Research Paper
A Comparison of Stories from “Woman Hollering Creek” I chose to compare the two stories “Woman Hollering Creek” and “Never Marry A Mexican”. In “Never Marry A Mexican”, the story takes place in modern day Texas, but that does not mean that Texas is the only setting which effects this story, the real context in which this story must be understood is today’s Mexican culture as a whole, both in Mexico, and here in America from the viewpoint of two women.The author describes in both stories the way that things are supposed to be in a Mexican family, setting the table a certain way, how to serve dinner, the position of a woman in the family, how they are supposed to act. In “Never Marry A Mexican”, the character Clemencia lives in a country which she considers her home and yet she does not feel as though she fits in. Her occasional job as a translator signifies this well, as a American woman of Mexican descent, she doesn’t feel like she fits into the melting pot of America. She probably thinks if she were white that her life would be much different. She is very bitter about many aspects of her life. While I read the story I felt she didn’t have very high self-esteem. She chooses to place herself into situations that aren’t good for her emotionally. Yet, she does this again and again. In “Woman Hollering Creek”, the character of Cle filas changes through the story. After moving from Mexico to the Texas side of the border, Cle filas is filled with romantic hopes. She thinks she is one her way to a perfect life and a perfect marriage. In Mexico, the telenovelas that she watches fill her mind with false hopes of passion and happiness. She leaves a humble and caring family for the romantic dreams she hopes to achieve on the other side of the border. It does not take long for Cle filas to realize the difficulties of being a foreigner on the Texas/Mexico border. Both stories illustrate the womens confusion over their identities and their role in a world that looks very different from an “American woman’s” perspective. Both women in both stories are entangled in abusive relationships. For one it comes in the form of beatings by a husband. For the other she places herself in relationships with married white men to get back at them for something she feels they have done to her. In “Women Hollering Creek” we see a young woman who moves across the border to an unknown town with her new husband. Once she settles into her new life, her husband begins to physically abuse and dominate her. She is faced with the important decision to return to her father or to stay and take more abuse. This story represents many stories that occur often today. Women are faced with these difficult decisions and many choose to stay in the abusive marriage because they do not have any means to provide for their family and they do not have any support or protection.Because Cle filas was from a non-dominant culture and she did not speak English, her situation was more difficult. If she could not turn to her family in Mexico, she could possibly have chosen to stay in the abusive environment. Most women do not know their options when found in a difficult situation like Cle filas. If a wife chooses to leave, her husband may threaten her life as well as her children’s lives.”Never Marry A Mexican” is an interesting and sometimes graphic portrayal of a Mexican American woman’s struggles with trying to straddle two unique heritages. Throughout the story, Clemencia demonstrates how her traumatic childhood and the discrimination she witnessed, and at times even took part in, against her race took its toll on her self esteem and morale. Her mother planted seeds of inferiority of the Mexican race early in her life by constantly criticizing her race, and instructing her to “never marry a Mexican.” You could also hold her mother responsible for other problems that Clemencia possesses. She claims that her mother’s yearning to live a childhood she never had because of teenage pregnancy led to serious neglect of her motherly duties. She also tells of how her mother continued to be unfaithful towards her father when he laid in helpless agony in his death bed. These type of factors are what contributed to the main conflicts Clemencia struggles with both as a woman and a Mexican American. Bitterness and resentment are by far the feelings that come through Clemencia’s spirit and provoke her into performing the destructive behavior that she demonstrates in the story. She bluntly tells of her negative feelings towards the Mexican race. She acts on these feelings by refusing to get romantically involved with Mexicans or anyone who is of Hispanic decent. She also gets herself involved with many married white men. She brags about how she has many times engaged in sexual relations with men in their bed while their wives were in the hospital giving birth. But even when she is in these relationships, she is still being held captive by her own thoughts and ideas about her life. Her mother told her never to get involved with a mexican man, so she swings to the opposite of this and gets involved with every unavailable white man she can. Deep down I think she truly knows that these relationships will never work out, and even comes to expect that they won’t. But she keeps pushing herself into these relationships anyway.
The majority of the story illustrates her selfish and callous nature, but she also demonstrates a very serious and sensitive side. Her words and actions suggest that she explores many of her painful feelings through her art. It seems as though she uses the canvas as an outlet for expressing emotions that she is afraid to directly feel. She is vicious and cold, but throughout the story she is responding to a childhood and an esteem that she did not create. Both stories show us how mixed up these women are, Cle filas accepts the failure of her dreams in Texas and moves back to Mexico. Her experiences in Texas show us how hard it must be to be a minority in the borderlands of Texas. Cle filas’ situation illustrates the need for woman to be independent. If they are not independent, they are helpless to be used by others. She feels that by giving up her “married existence” that was not happy and by returning to her family’s home as a failure she can continue to live a much happier life. Faced with the decision of whether to stay and be beaten or go home humiliated, she chooses to leave. At least she had the knowledge that her family would always accept her back. In the other story, Clemencia does not have this family support to fall back on and her independence is very shaky. She forces herself to be dependant on the man she gets involved with, and when her relationship with Drew ends she is unable to cope with the reality of it. So she instead creates her own version of a family through Drew’s son. I think she slowly begins to slip into a world of make-believe where she can have the perfect relationship with a white man and live a perfect existence. But her make-believe world also shows us that she is much more disturbed by her own upbringing than she thinks. She is unable to tell the difference between the Drew and his son and sees Drew as being as much a child as his son. The major difference between Drew and his son though, is that although she believes both of them to be infatuated with her, Drew is actually not. The affair which Clemencia has with Megan and Drew’s son is just a continuation of the one which she and Drew had before, but this time, she is in control of the relationship and can determine where it goes. In real life, Drew is the ’suave,’ successful man in the art gallery. However, whatever reality may be, in Clemencia’s eyes, he is just a little boy who is in love with her and here she finds that “perfect love” that she believe she should have.Both women are torn between living a life alone or being in a relationship that is very unhealthy. I think Cle filas makes the right decision by choosing to go home to her family. It is better that she be alone but be safe. As for Clemencia, I think she will continue to live in her world of make-believe for as long as her mind thinks it is necessary. Both stories helped me to understand how difficult it must be to be a woman in today’s society. And although on the outside you would believe them to be very different, inside they are the same. They both want a good relationship and neither can obtain it because of circumstances that are out of their control.
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