Children are very impressionable. Like potting foam or soap suds they can be changed with a nudge or a squeeze. In Sandra Cisneros’s short story “Never Marry a Mexican” Which follows a young girl named Clemencia, and then jumps to the future when she is older and a painter, translator, mistress. Her rough childhood is depicted in numerous ways from her cheating mother to the death to her father or from the simple statement from her own mother “Never Marry a Mexican”. Her actions can be seen as psychopathic. This stems back to when Clemencia was a young girl. Both of her parents were of Hispanic dissent; however, her father was from Mexico City and married down to Clemencia’s mother who was born in the states. This caused her father’s side of the family to look down on her mother. This put her mother in a hard place. In a relationship with a man who likely knocked her up, as a result they had to get married because abortion is looked down upon in Hispanic culture and the Catholic church which has a large Hispanic population and can be viewed as the religion of choice for this family. So, mom hates dad and dad ends up dead, all the while mom is saying don’t get married it will fuck you up and while dad is dying mom sleeps is sleeping with another man and mom is ignoring her two daughters. All this is a nice brew for a crazy person, so, what makes a crazy person crazy why is Clemencia likely crazy and how Clemencia neglect and misguided disaster of a childhood made her who she is.
Clemencia was neglected and because of this she likely has “antisocial personality disorder (APD).” (Blair 727) Her rough up bringing would seem to be an “early onset of psychopathic behavior seems to be a developmental disorder.” (Blair 727) Clemencia also says “I don’t care I never saw them” (Cisneros 69) referring to men she has slept with. As if she could look right through them Mexican to Uruguayan. Like she felt nothing for people she was literally letting inside of her that they were just tools. Clemencia also says “Just the cream skimmed off the top. Just the sweetest part of the fruit, without the bitter skin that daily living with a spouse can rend”. (Cisneros 69) Showing how she is afraid of commitment and is just a user, or an individual who takes with no giving, a consumer if you will. Clemencia consumes relationships by tainting them with her allowance of infidelity. She is like Owen Lambert, Mr. Lambert was the man that slept with her mom while daddy was dying. He had to have known that Mom was married to dad but he was down and diggity with it anyway. Clemencia turned into what she was against and even found it acceptable.
Her father also died he got sick was coughing up blood and dying. This is when Clem still had feelings when she could emote. Feeling anguish and fear and pain. Hail Mary’s flying around at her father from everyone. All while she watched. She watched her father dying which is not something a young person should have to see. It causes scarring like a plow through a field, it is something that is hard to come back from with a smile. It is very likely that Clem experienced “a severe variety of behavior problems which so disturbed [her] daily functioning in the family”. (Elizur, Kaffman 474) Clem likely wasn’t the same after this experience, she likely lashed out at her mother who blamed Clem’s father for the marriage and in turn made Clem feel as if she was unwanted. She felt “She would have sold us to the Devil if she could” (Cisneros 73). She felt unwanted and dirty when around her mother.
Clem then projects her feelings onto her sister Ximena. Clem feels unwanted by her mother and so when Ximena tells Clem “maybe we should go home”. (Cisneros 72) Clem says that they have no home with their mother which can be true, if mom doesn’t want Clem around because Clem is acting out and causing a ruckus then Clem is not welcome, however she brings her sister into the mix, an innocent bystander who happens to have gotten dragged by her toes into her sister’s mess. Ximena would probably have a place at home with their mother.
Clem’s environment likely played a part in her fractured reality. Living in what seems to be a ghetto with lots of violence and “Pistols going off like the wild, wild West”. (Cisneros 72) This is not a place to call home. Her location says volumes about their situation. It brings to question things like Ximena’s age and why she hasn’t gotten married and left her Loopy sister. Like what if Clem has kidnapped her sister and got her to think that her mom is bad and that staying with Clem is the only safe thing they can do.
Another thing to consider is Clem’s job as an artist. An artist makes things typically paintings or sculptures but anyone can be an artist. The thing that makes Clem this “artist” is that she has creativity. Creativity could be derived from experiences for reference or inspiration. Lacking any visuals of her art makes it difficult to confirm this but it is interesting to think about how her art could be different because of her probable Psychosis.
Clemencia is an interesting person she does many things on purpose to further what she wants in her little bubble. She takes what she wants from people she doesn’t give back, it is like she just exists to exist but aren’t we all here to just exist. Her past was decided before she really ever could make the decision for herself. When her mother once said “Never Marry a Mexican” (Cisneros 68) and defined who her daughter would be. An individual who would never get married but instead would be the one hiding behind the curtains when the wife walked in.
Blair, James. “Neurocognitive models of aggression, the antisocial personality disorders, and psychopathy .” Http://Jnnp.bmj.com/Content/71/6/727, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 1 Dec. 2001, jnnp.bmj.com/content/71/6/727.
Elizur, Esther, and Mordecai Kaffman. “Children’s Bereavement Reactions Following Death of the Father: II.” Sciencedirect, Elsevier Inc., Sept. 1982, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002713809607974.
Cisneros, Sandra. “Women Hollering Creek and other stories.” WWW.Vintagebooks.com, Vintage, 30 Apr. 2013, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/27847/woman-hollering-creek-by-sandra-cisneros/.