SELF-AWARE FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE 1
People often change, but what necessitates the changes? Sometimes thechange might come due to the pressure from people that are powerful.The change might at times come without people realizing it, and thishappens as a result of the growth evolution or other developments.Sometimes it might arise as a resolution to overcome a difficultyinjustice or a limitation. In the last century the situation of womenhas dramatically altered more significantly in the western society.The change is drastic that it is now possible to document the risingfeminist critical consciousness. Women have become more consciousabout themselves and their relationship to the authority, especiallyreligious authority. The perception of authority is not only limitedto the Christian authority, but even other forms of authority includetheir perception of family issues. A good case scenario is presentedby Sandra Cisneros` story "Woman Hollering Creek". A criticof the book presents how the women consciousness has evolved and howwomen look at the environment around them.
First, Sandra Cisneros`s "Woman Hollering Creek," presentsthe American society as an environment that limits the woman fromliberation from the oppressive masculinity. Such a perspective isinformed by a formalist view of the narration. The town thatCleófilas moves to with her novel husband casts a mirror of imagesthat are distorted from where she came from. The characters and thesetting of the new city all point to the conclusion that life in theU.S. (United States) is less of liberation for a woman compared tolife in Mexico. From this juxtaposition, Sandra is quite conscious ofwhat is ideal for a woman and tries to show how the society hasfailed to realize the need. She shows that while the American societymight think that it is providing liberation for a woman it is, infact, making it hard for the woman to be free.
Cisneros`s paints the United States as being stepped in maleness tothe barring of femininity. This is painted by the symbolism in thesettings and also the characters. For instance, the town in theCleófilas hometown is erect, which is a depiction of masculinity.The primary character in Cleófilas life is her husband. Across thestreet, her immediate neighbor is a Maximiliano(he is said to havemurdered his wife in an ice-house brawl). The neighborhood does notpresent Cisneros`s with any feminine figure to relate with. Doloresis not a mother anymore while Soledad is not a wife anymore. Dolore’sgarden is not tranquil and feminine and only serves to reinforce themasculine dominance. Sandra Cisneros tries to foreshadow the abusethat Cleophilas will experience in her marriage life. This symbolismand characterization are a clear demonstration of feministconsciousness. The author tries to show how the society is blindlylimiting the woman from getting the freedom in her environment. Ittries to shade a true picture of the society in the perspective of aself-conscious feminism.
The author provides a famine mirror of the character and the settingin Mexico. He tries to highlight that as much as the environment onthe U.S is limiting there is a supporting environment in Mexico. Itis clear that the author is aware of her rights and how the societyshould be set to give her the opportunity to be free. First, the townin Mexico is South meaning that the region is feminine. The primarycharacter in Mexico is the Cleofilas father who is more famine thanmasculinity. The father had taken over the role of Cleophilasdeceased mother. The environment has aunts who has has both nephewsand nieces, there are godmothers and this is someone who is aprotector as much as a freind. As well, the town has a center ratherthan a city hall. This depicts that there is no masculine competitionbut rather a feminine completion. A realization for feminismconscious in the city is the leafy Zocalo in the city center insteadof a bronze pecan exterior of the city hall. The image is thedemonstration of fertility and, therefore, feminist.
Apart from creating the contrast between feminine and masculine theauthor developsa setting that creates contrast amid dependence aswell as independence. The town in the US are built in a way that thewoman has to depend on the husband while those in Mexico, it providesmore freedom for the women. In Mexico, it is a walking distance tothe cinema, her friend’s house church and even her family. In theUS, there is nothing that one can walk to as it is in Mexico. Whetherit is social outings, ice house or anywhere,the cinema and TV areavailable for Cleófilas. Mexico town offers more opportunity for theindependent action of women than US. The idea presented in thiswriting is that a woman needs freedom and not to depend entirely onthe man.
The narration thus depicts the need for a woman to be independent andto be in an environment that supports her well-being. Cleófilas isaware of what she is supposed to get, and she uses her witty mind tocreate a clear contrast between the two countries and theopportunities they provide for the woman. While one provides anenvironment where a woman is supported the other provides anenvironment where a woman is struggling in every way.
Criticism of the writing
There are several themes that the author presents in this writingthat develops an analogy of feminism and the strife of the woman.First the theme of love and power is apparent in the writing. Womenfind themselves entangled in a relationship where the man hasabsolute rule over them, and they have to submit to this rule all inthe name of love. Many women look at marriage as a relationship wheremen have complete power over the women. The alternative that is thewoman having complete power does not find any place in this society.In the “Woman hollering creek,” the theme is depicted in thesense that love equals power. Juan Pedro takes Cleofilas and assumestotal control over her. She does not have the opportunity to choosewhat she thinks it is best since she has to submit to the whims ofthe man. The life in U.S is burdening, but she has no choice. This isa clear presentation of a woman who does not have the ability to lookafter herself and choose the best for her life. The dominance of themasculine character in the U.S society is not an option for thewomen, but they have just to live with it.
Alienationand displacement also help to illuminate the state of the women inthis society. Women have to be subjected to the will of the man andeven though they do not have the chance to change their state theyare forced to keep themselves within those conditions unwillingly.The separation from the family and those that matter and living in aplace where one does not have a friend and one that is of your genderresult to a feeling of loneliness. When Cleófilas moved with herhusband to the US, she found herself without a friend or even a womanto associate with. This lives her in a state of alienation, and shefeels that she does not belong to where she is. While she had thechance to interact with her friend back in her hometown, she is nowfaced with a neighborhood that is hostile and unfriendly. Women needto have the feeling of belonging. The idea of one following theirhusbands to where they choose without considering the needs of thewoman is a prejudice to the woman
Individualism vs. cultural conflict is a theme that is well developedin this naration. The alienation and the love as power theme tend toemanate from the individual conflict and the cultural traditions.While the women want to fosters their individual gain and well-beingthey are still entangled within the cultural perspective. The thinline between the need to achieve individualism and the struggle withone`s culture leaves them with a burden that is hard to bear. Culturerequires that a woman obeys their husbands and that the husband haspower over them. From the cultural perspective, love is power. Thefamily tradition necessitates that one should cease belonging to hisfather and now belong to the husband. Cleófilas brings this aspectout clearly she does not try to resist that influence of hertradition and willingly leaves her father and now belongs to herhusband. From the cultural perspective those that do not resist thecultural force are postulated as happy and successful. Those that tryto resist this set norm are seen as the outcast.
The struggle between individualism and cultural conflict is intensefor a woman that tries to resist it. One who resist will remainunhappy because her relationship with the opposite sex will remain apower struggle. And if one is successful in the struggle they willremain unhappy because they get alienated from their cultural roots.This struggle thus leaves the woman with no choice. Whether onechoses to struggle for her freedom or remains loyal to theirhusbands, they remain unhappy. What is pictured by this struggle isthat the famine does not have a place in the world of happiness. Theyeither serve their fathers or serve their husbands. The masculine hasall the opportunities they need while the famine remains to strugglefor their survival.
The need to reshape the societal perspective of the feminine isparamount. While the culture tends to fever the masculine, it leavesno room for the feminine. Although the feminine might beself-conscious of their situation, they remain hopeless since allthey can do to free themselves still leads them to another problem itonly time that the culture of our society gives more room for thefeminine to be happy just as the masculine is.
Cisneros,S. (1997). Woman hollering creek: And other stories. U.S.A:Vintage.