Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

by

Sandra Cisneros

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The protagonist of “One Holy Night,” an eighth grade girl who falls in love with an older man who calls himself Boy Baby and claims to be the descendant of Mayan kings. Though her Abuelita (grandmother) is strict and frightening when it comes to Ixchel’s love life (perhaps because Ixchel’s mother got pregnant when she was young and had to be sent from the United States to Mexico, where Ixchel was born), she stations the family pushcart in front of Esparza & Sons Auto Repair shop, where Boy Baby lives. After selling cucumbers throughout the day, Ixchel accompanies Boy Baby to his back room, where he shows her his collection of guns and tells her that his son is destined for greatness. Ixchel has sex for this first time on this night, and when she returns home, she realizes she left the pushcart at the Auto Repair shop. Hoping to protect both herself and Boy Baby, she lies to Abuelita, saying that the cart was stolen, but Abuelita quickly finds out the truth. Not long thereafter, Ixchel learns she’s pregnant, and Abuelita tries to track down Boy Baby, who’s nowhere to be found. When Ixchel finally learns the truth about Boy baby—that he isn’t Mayan and that he’s been arrested for murdering eleven girls—she remains in love. A dark romantic, she explains that (unlike her friends Rachel (One Holy Night) and Lourdes, who have grand ideas about romance) being in love is like a crazy person breathing steadily through a harmonica without trying to play it—the breath simply moves in and out, creating music. Even so, her conception of womanhood and sexuality is grim, as she tells her younger cousins that falling in love is like “a bad joke.”

Ixchel Quotes in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

The Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories quotes below are all either spoken by Ixchel or refer to Ixchel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage Books edition of Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories published in 1991.
One Holy Night Quotes

About the truth, if you give it to a person, then he has power over you. And if someone gives it to you, then they have made themselves your slave. It is a strong magic. You can never take it back.

Related Characters: Chaq Uxmal Paloquín (“Boy Baby”) (speaker), Ixchel
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

I’m not saying I’m not bad. I’m not saying I’m special. But I’m not like the Allport Street girls, who stand in doorways and go with men into alleys.

All I know is I didn’t want it like that. Not against the bricks or hunkering in somebody’s car. I wanted it come undone like gold thread, like a tent full of birds. The way it’s supposed to be, the way I knew it would be when I met Boy Baby.

But you must know, I was no girl back then. And Boy Baby was no boy. Chaq Uxmal Paloquín. Boy Baby was a man. When I asked him how old he was he said he didn’t know. The past and the future are the same thing. So he seemed boy and baby and man all at once, and the way he looked at me, how do I explain?

Related Characters: Ixchel (speaker), Chaq Uxmal Paloquín (“Boy Baby”)
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

The truth is, it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t any deal at all. I put my bloody panties inside my T-shirt and ran home hugging myself. I thought about a lot of things on the way home. I thought about all the world and how suddenly I became a part of history and wondered if everyone on the street, the sewing machine lady and the panadería saleswoman and the woman with two kids sitting on the bus bench didn’t all know. Did I look any different? Could they tell? We were all the same somehow, laughing behind our hands, waiting the way all women wait, and when we find out, we wonder why the world and a million years made such a big deal over nothing.

I know I was supposed to feel ashamed, but I wasn’t ashamed. I wanted to stand on top of the highest building, the top-top floor, and yell, I know.

Related Characters: Ixchel (speaker), Chaq Uxmal Paloquín (“Boy Baby”)
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories LitChart as a printable PDF.
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories PDF

Ixchel Character Timeline in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

The timeline below shows where the character Ixchel appears in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One Holy Night
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
Ixchel—an eighth grade Mexican-American girl—explains that it has been eighteen weeks since Abuelita, her grandmother, chased... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
The story of Ixchel’s fall from grace begins with her time spent selling cucumbers from the family pushcart. “I... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
When Ixchel first meets Boy Baby and asks how old he is, he tells her he doesn’t... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
One night, Ixchel stations the pushcart outside Esparza & Sons Auto Repair, where Boy Baby lives in a... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Female Objectification & Power Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...claims this son will “bring back the grandeur of [his] people.” Years ago, he tells Ixchel, his father brought him to the Temple of the Magician and forced him to promise... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Female Objectification & Power Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Regarding this moment on the newspaper bed with Boy Baby, Ixchel writes: “So I was initiated beneath an ancient sky by a great and mighty heir—Chaq... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Feeling suddenly wise, Ixchel comes confidently back home, laughing at her newfound knowledge until Abuelita takes one look at... (full context)
Female Objectification & Power Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Despite her best efforts to hide the fact that she and Boy Baby had sex, Ixchel’s secret becomes obvious when her period never comes and her stomach swells. When Abuelita discovers... (full context)
Cultural & National Identity Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Only her friends Rachel and Lourdes know about Ixchel’s pregnancy, and Abuelita wants to keep it that way. Consequently, she arranges to send Ixchel... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
As the baby grows inside her, Ixchel can feel the “ghost” of Boy Baby circling through her innards, refusing to “let [her]... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Female Objectification & Power Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
In Mexico, Ixchel’s female cousins are hesitant to talk to her. The ones that do engage her in... (full context)
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Ruminating on the nature of love, Ixchel writes about how her friend Rachel thinks love “is like a big black piano being... (full context)