Sandra Cisneros looks into the lives of Mexican-Americans some stories based from her own experiences and what others may have found themselves into. The stories one reads show how men are abusive like in “Women Hollering Creek” forcing the wife to run away with her child to protect them. Another of Cisneros’ tales show how Mexican American men are liars such as in “One Holy Night” where a much older man begins a relationship with a young girl filling her with false stories about him. Not all men are deceiving women, in her story “Los Boxers” we take a different look into a male’s prospective of his life after the death of his wife. Sandra Cisneros demonstrates the many different life-situations male Mexican-Americans may have in varies of her stories.
The first tale to show one of the many lives of a male Mexican American is “Women Hollering Creek” told by the wife’s prospective. As it is a custom in Mexico, men will ask permission from the father to marry their daughter in order for the couple to begin their life together. That is how Cisneros’ story begins and the girl, Cleofilas, remembers the day she leaves her home to be with her newly husband Juan Pedro. Cleofilas goes on about her new home and then it happens. It is stereotyped to many that Mexican or/and Mexican American are abusive husband and we see that stereotyping in this story. Cleofilas was more surprised than upset. The story describes the incident as, “the first time she had been so surprised she didn’t even cry out or try to defend herself (Cisneros pg.47).” Cleofilas never witnessed her father physically abusing her mother and therefor did not understand what to or what to think. The abused continued and always ending with Juan Pedro crying apologizing and promising it will not happen again. After all the abuse, Cleofilas stays by her husband side and endures his beating. Why? Even though he is abusive Cleofilas tells the reader that her husband is hard worker who is providing for his family. We see this reality in Mexico, America and other countries. The wife not leaving the husband after being beating because she has children with him, he brings in the money, and pays rent to have a roof over their head. He continues to mistreatment her until one day she finally leaving him taking their child with no explanation or goodbye. This happens often in which the mother takes the children and herself away from the father to protect them from him. It is even suggested by the Court Appoint Special Advocates, a program that thrives to protect children of America, which in their website they say, “Many professionals believe that the most effective thing that a battered mother can do to protect her children is to leave the battering husband (Hart, “Children of domestic violence”).
In “One Holy Night” we are told about a lying male Mexican American who is deceiving a very young girl into falling in love with him. Chaq Uxmal Paloquin, also goes by the name “Boy Baby” for looking young, is a 30ish year old man who begins a relationship with a middle school girl. We see this in the news all the time, just recently a 50 year old teacher from Tennessee kidnapped a 15 year old student name Elizabeth who the police are still searching for (CBS). The main character in Cisneros’ story could have ended up like Elizabeth by being kidnapped. Boy Baby shows our main character a collection of guns and we later find out he was arrested for the murder and kidnapping of girls he kept in a cave. Boy Baby lies to the young girl about his life, avoiding telling her of his past. Being so young she falls into his trap, like the other girls in the cave have, and believes to be in love with him and goes as far as to have sex with him. After their night together she returns home and does not see or hear from him. Her grandmother is hell-bent to find Boy Baby because her granddaughter is now pregnant. Our character is sent away in order to hide the pregnancy. Cisneros shows how older men can deceive innocent girls to fall in love with them using lies, leaving family members to look after them. Lynn Philips did a study of older men who had previously had been in relationships with older men when being teenagers and she found, “with the benefit of hindsight and experience, these older women acknowledged that they’d been used and hurt and exploited (Schwyzer, “When Older Guys Lust After Young Women”).
Unlike the first two stories’ view on male Mexican Americans, “Los Boxers” shows a lighter story of a husband who unexpectedly lost his wife. The husband speaks of the work the wife did around the house and how until now he admires her for having done everything she did. Now alone to raise the kids the husband understands the struggles his wife had to endure to have the house running smoothly. This story is much different since the other two shows how the men used women and how underappreciated the women are to the men. Although it is too late for the husband to give his thanks to his wife for all her hard work he thinks of her. After her death he has learn a few tricks to finish the household errands. Unlike the other stories we do not see the men’s appreciation to the women, although she is no longer alive in other words they are being used.
Cisneros demonstrates the stereotype of how male Mexican Americans are look at with “Women Hollering Creek” and “One Holy Night”. One is an abusive husband who beats his wife even when she is carrying his second child. To a man building a unappropriated relationship with a young girl working to help her family. In the end of her novel she then gives us a story where the wife is no longer with the husband and only then does he realized the importance of the her duties. These are only a few of the prospective lives the male Mexican Americans live. And thanks to Cisneros she had given us that.
Hart J. Barbara. “Children of domestic violence: risks and remedies.” Child Protective Services Quarterly, Pittsburgh, PA. July 1.
Schywer, Hugo. “When older guys lust after young women.” The good men project. March 29, 2011.
“Manhunt intensifies for missing teacher, student.” CBS Miami. March 20, 2017.
Cisneros, Sandra. Women Hollering Creek. Random House, Inc., New York. 1991.