Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories

by

Sandra Cisneros

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Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories: There Was a Man, There Was a Woman Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This piece tells the story of a man and a woman who don’t know each other even though they live very similar lives. The man gets paid every other Friday and goes to the Friendly Spot Bar to spend his money on drinks. The woman gets paid on the Fridays in between the man’s paydays, and she too goes to the Friendly Spot Bar to drink when she receives her money. The man likes to drink with his friends because he believes “the words for what he [is] feeling [will] slip out more readily” than they might otherwise, but each payday he says almost nothing, simply sitting at the bar and sipping his drink. The woman hopes for the exact same thing, but she too only ever sits quietly at the bar and focuses on the glass in front of her. 
The man and woman’s desire to articulate a feeling they don’t understand—perhaps a feeling of loneliness or discontent—recalls the trouble Juan Pedro and his friends have in “Woman Hollering Creek” with expressing their emotions. Blocked up for whatever reason, these characters hope for some grand epiphany that never comes. The simultaneity of their situations suggests that this is perhaps a universal experience, and the fact that they’re never able to make a connection feels like a cruel joke, a trick of fate that keeps them apart.
Themes
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon
At night when the moon rises, the woman lifts her eyes to it and cries. At home in bed, the man stares up at the same moon and thinks about “the millions” of people who have looked at it “before him,” who have “worshiped or loved or died before that same moon, mute and lovely.” As it takes on a bluish hue and comes through his window—shedding itself over him and his “tangled sheets”—he continues watching this mysterious glowing orb, swallowing hard to keep back his tears.
The moon acts as a unifying force in this moment, though it also emphasizes the unlucky rift separating this man and woman from coming together. And while their story is sad and lonely, it’s also hopeful, since neither one of them would ever even suspect that the other is out there feeling the same exact thing in the same exact scenario. By allowing readers to see how these two characters are unknowingly connected, Cisneros suggests that nobody is ever as alone as he or she might think. 
Themes
Love, The Joy of Life, & Interconnection Theme Icon
Loss, Longing, & Grief Theme Icon