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Feminist Perspective

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Feminist perspective of literature can be traced back to the 18th Century and it refers to the time when women had fewer privileges of self-expression compared to the modern time. Thus, for them, the only channel of voicing their thoughts, such as their political views, was through literature. Given that women over the centuries have suffered the same alienation and victimization, Cisneros presents a woman who struggles to prevail over romantic notions of domestic torment and cultural isolation. In Cisneros's feminism, male chauvinism is exemplified by, domestic abuse, violence, rape and limitations to traditional gender related roles.    

The author, Cisneros, just like the major character, Cleofilas, in Woman Hollering Creek, is Mexican-American and a single daughter in a family of seven children. She mainly focuses on problems facing the female gender such as; discriminations and abuse rather than love and lifestyle, which guides Cleofilas’ decision into marriage. She uses the word chores to describe a woman’s duties around the house; she wrote, “…dream of returning to the chores that never ended, six good-for-nothing brothers, and one old man’s complaint” (246). Besides, before leaving; her father believes that despite her departure, Cleofilas will someday want to return home to her family, even if it meant dealing with her six brothers and endless chores. This shows that, the woman’s main duty was to perform domestic chores.  In this culture, women are also limited to other duties and in making decisions, its Cleofilas’ father who gives her off to her husband, Juan Pedro.  Moreover, the woman neither drives nor does she get any access to a car. Moreover, the culture also limits their freedom with their children by restricting them to a small house where they must play their chores; cook, clean, and care for her family, as Cleofilas’ case show. In addition, women in the story are victimized persons, e.g. they are victims of violence in the hands of men. The portrayed relationship between men and women, therefore, is that where men abuses women physically and mentally. Cisneros reveals the way the culture puts a difference between a male and a female, men above women.

Given to how the culture has been adopted, women are always dominated by men, example, after Pedro batters Cleofilas, she “could think of nothing to say, said nothing. Just stroked the dark curls of the man who wept and would weep like a child…” Across the street Maximiliano, “… was said to have killed his wife in an ice-house brawl" (51). The telenovelas have also convinced women that suffering for love is not a bad. Cleofilas thinks, “… the pain is all sweet somehow.” Despite her abused life, Cleofilas at times believed that her marriage could always survive the violence as she believes, “…this man, this father, this rival, this keeper, this lord, this master, this husband till kingdom come.” Therefore, Cisneros clearly narrates a story that deal with the pain and suffering of women in a male dominated society. On their part, men, too, are constrained by the sex roles assigned to them by culture. Example, nothing encourages Juan Pedro to be other than he is. Though, his icehouse friends excuse his violence against his wife, they do nothing to correct him. All her wife can do is to forgive him and promises to remain silent about his beatings and even to lie if asked about her many bruises by her doctor. Instead, she would tell him that “she fell down the front steps or slipped when she was out in the backyard, slipped out back…” Felice, an independent woman who owns her own truck, and Graciela, a clinic physician, are spirited ladies who are willing to help other women in distress. From the story, they are portrayed as protagonists since they seem be in depended of men. Moreover, they conspire to help Cleofilas escape from her abusive husband: Felice also rejects traditional sex roles and fiercely and fearlessly defends women who are trapped in restricted, traditional norms. Stereotypical themes such as have been explored example in the passage, “…dream of returning to the chores that never ended, six good-for-nothing brothers, and one old man’s complaint” (246). The eldest female in the house had to assume the chores of a female in case there was no wife.

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