Sometimes things that seem so time consuming and annoying can later bring us joy in life. In the story, “Los Boxers” by Sandra Cisneros, this happened to a man. In the story, the man’s wife drove him crazy with her household chores, such as cleaning around the house and doing their own laundry. He would watch his wife do the chores all the time, but after his wife passed away, he had to start doing all the things he learned from her on his own. It seems that now that he is doing what he watched his wife do, it’s more of a good memory instead of a chore anymore. It also seems like even though losing his wife was sad, he lost resentment toward doing his own chores as well. The story “Los Boxers” expresses how the man copes with the loss of his wife, insinuates what happens to some other people when they lose a love one, and shows how certain events in our lives can rewire our brain about certain situations and activities.
The story starts off with the man talking to a random woman at the laundry mat. The woman’s daughter had just spilled some soda water on the ground and shattered a glass bottle. The spill reminded the man of his wife. He began to talk about what he learned from his wife with passion, even though she drove him crazy with her meticulous cleaning. “You know how to keep a stain from setting? Guess. Ice cube. Yup. My wife taught me that one. I used to think she was crazy. Anytime I spilled something on the tablecloth, off she’d go running to the ice box. Spot my shirts with mole, ice cube. Stain a towel with blood, ice cube. Kick over a beer on the living-room rug, you got it, ice cube.”(Cisneros pp. 287-288) Using an ice cube to quickly lift stains is a cleaning tip that he learned from his wife that he will never forget. He also talked about how she always kept their house really clean and made everything they had look like it was brand new: “Towels, sheets, embroidered pillowcases, and them little table runners like doilies, them you put on chairs for your head, those, she had them white and stiff like the collar of a nun. You betcha. Starched and ironed everything. My socks, my T-shirts. Even ironed los boxers.” (Cisneros pp. 287) Now when he has to wash his own boxers or lift a stain from a tablecloth, a shirt, or his living room rug, he may smile and remember the last time his wife washed his clothes or the last time she had to run for the ice box when he knocked over a drink and it spilled on something. This is interesting because that can happen to anyone at any time.
Certain events in our lives can rewire our brain about certain situations and activities, which can be good and bad. In some bad events, such as the loss of a loved one or a death in the family, loss of career or job, or survival of a terrible disaster, the results could be devastating. It could lead to depression and anxiety, or an adjustment disorder. The symptoms could include but not be limited to getting stomach aches, extreme sadness, frequent crying, worry, and trouble falling asleep and getting decent rest. (Goldberg, Ph.D.) In other cases, like the man in “Los Boxers”, a tragic event may be handled in other ways. Although the missed his wife and learned from her, he still spoke positively about her and with passion. The memories helped him. He may have felt great happiness talking about his wife and sharing with others what he learned from her and her crazy ways of cleaning. He seemed to dismiss any negative feelings towards the chores and embraced them with all the stories that he could still recollect about her. This may be how he chose to cope with his loss and what will help him more forward in his life.
The way people cope with the death of a love one will vary based on the individual. Certain people will be overwhelmed by sadness and won’t be able to cope with it very well. They may have to deal with symptoms like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Some people will be so unable to cope with the struggles of losing a loved one on their own that they would be forced to seek professional help and get therapy from a psychologist or counselor. Other people, like the man in “Los Boxers”, will choose to reminisce on the good times that the couple had, all the way down to the smallest things like household chores. After his wife passed away, the man was forced to do things that she used to do for him all the time. He cherished those memories of her, and over time he began learning and picking up little tips and tricks about chores and cleaning on his own. While he was talking to the random woman at the laundry mat, he told her “Make sure you don’t let those clothes sit in that dryer now. You’re welcome. Gotta keep on top of them, right? Soon as they stop spinning, get ’em out of there. Otherwise it just means more work later. My T-shirts get wrinkled even if I dry them fifteen minutes hot or cold. That’s T-shirts for you. Always get a little wrinkled one way or another. They’s funny, T-shirts.” (Cisneros pp. 288) Although he probably learned about this on his own, he most likely relates it to his wife because she would never let his clothes have wrinkles. Because of his wife, simple little things like starch on his boxers will bring this old man a little bit of joy.
Cisneros, Sandra. “Woman Hollering Creek.” Story titled “Los Boxers” (pp. 287) Accessed 19 July, 2017
Cisneros, Sandra. “Woman Hollering Creek.” Story titled “Los Boxers” (pp. 288) Accessed 19 July, 2017
Goldberg, Joesph, Ph.D, Oct. 15, 2016, “Mental Health and Adjustment Disorder”
www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-adjustment-disorder, , Accessed 19 July, 2017
Photos from Google Images, Accessed 19 July, 2017