To quote the Disney movie Inside Out, “Have you ever looked at someone and wondered ‘What is going on inside their head?’” In the story Never Marry a Mexican by Sandra Cisneros, the main character is a woman named Clemencia who grew up in a broken home and spends her days as the mistress for married men. There is one man in-particular that she has been with for a long time and seems to love; his name is Drew and he is one of these married men. When she is faced with the end of their relationship, later on in the story, her reaction is extremely different from anything considered “normal”. Her reaction to this end is to tell the wife of her lover but in the most unconventional, and seemingly “bizarre”, way. To inform the wife, Clemencia hides gummy bears in places only the wife will notice, such as her lipstick. It’s an interesting way to get the wife to find out without Clemencia telling her outright. The part that needs real studying, however, is her reaction after the fact because the gummy bear thing is odd but it just seems to be almost weirder. In the very end of the story, she starts to talk of things that aren’t common in everyday life. “And if I killed someone on a night like this? And if it was me I killed instead, I’d be guilty of getting in the line of crossfire,” (Cisneros 83). This is the quote that led me to believe there was more going on inside her head. So, the research done in this essay will display the effect cheating can having on a child and if her reaction is a symptom of mental health.
Ones childhood is a huge plaster for the growth of the child so the effects of a broken home can affect the development of the child and their psyche. According to Contemporary Family Therapy: An Interpersonal Journal, “The prevalence of infidelity is concerning given its link to numerous deleterious outcomes. Interpersonal conflict, family disruption, violence, psychological distress,” (Negash and Morgan 198), which basically means the outcomes of infidelity can lead to forms of mental problems, due to the psychological distress, a factor of most mental disorders. Then it leads to the fact that children are involved and how that plays a role, “An estimated 11–21 % of individuals with children commit infidelity (Spence 2012; Weigel et al. 2003). Parents who are unable to effectively cope with infidelity expose their children to increased conflict (Blodgett Salafia et al. 2013) in addition to trauma and grief like symptoms,” (Negash and Morgan 198). This quote is almost a perfect direct correlation with Clemecia in the story.
“I’ll never marry. Not any man. I’ve known men too intimately. I’ve wtnessed their infidelities, and I’ve helped them to it. Unzipped and unhooked and agreed to clandestine maneuvers. I’ve been accomplice, committed premeditated crimes. I’m guilty of having caused deliberate pain to other women. I’m vindictive and cruel, and I’m capable of anything” (Cisneros 68).
The reason this quote correlates with the previous one about the statistics is due to the fact that this woman, Clemencia, is the mistress, the one who helps the cheater. And the reason behind that is due to the influence her mother had on her in her childhood; “The man she met at work, Owen Lambert, the foreman at the photo-finishing plant, who she was seeing even while my father was sick. Even then” (Cisneros 73). This is a classic follow in the parent’s footsteps story, even if she hadn’t wanted to originally. The quote from Negash and Morgan also talks about the trauma and grief symptoms, which leads to the idea that this effected Clemencia’s mental health.
In Never Marry a Mexican, one can see the lasting affects what Clemencia’s mother had done to her father and how it stuck with Clemencia and weighed in on everything she had done. This also seemed the have an effect on her psyche and could have been a leading cause to her reactions to certain things which could be viewed as symptoms for mental disorders. “Parental infidelity can also engender feelings of guilt, anxiety, fear, worry, depression, shock, and aggression in children; all of which can inhibit healthy emotional development” (Negash and Morgan 198). And of the symptoms she portrays, it is highly likely she has a form of depression and possibly bipolar disorder. The reason these seem prevalent is due to her many reactions to things such as her seeming portrayal of mania (National Institute of Mental Health), or the high in bipolar disorder when she seems to find many things funny and amusing; “Just a moment, she said in her most polite drawing-room English. Just a moment. I laughed about that for weeks. […] Excuse me, honey. It cracked me up” (Cisneros 77). And later on she seems to have the bout of depressive actions, where she doesn-’t care, “That’s how I fell asleep, with the TV on and every light on in the house burning. […] and the cats […] they followed me into bed, where they aren’t allowed, but this time I just let them, fleas and all” (Cisneros 80). And even after those little things, she still proceeds to do an act that seems like something a vindictive woman would not do, because it is seemingly far-fetched. “I don’t know how to explain what I did next. While your father was busy in the kitchen, I went over to where Id left my backpack, and took out a bag of gummy bears I bought. And while he was banging pots, I went around the house and left a trail of them in places I was sure she would find them” (Cisneros 81) and proceeds to stuff them in places like her lipstick, nail polish bottles, and her makeup bag. But also during all of this, Clemencia is having sex with the son of the man she claims to love and is writing this as a letter to him, where she concludes with a disturbing message;
“What is it inside of me that makes me so crazy at 2 A.M.? I can’t blame it on alcohol in my blood when there isn’t any. It’s something worse. Something that poisons the blood and tips me when the night swells and I feel as if the whole sky was leaning against me” (Cisneros 82-83).
Then she proceeds to talk about killing someone or herself and it’s a very worrisome thought that is highly associated with depression. She even goes on to talk about how if the reader is “convinced now I’m as crazy as a tulip or a taxi? As vagrant as a cloud?” (Cisneros 83). In conclusion, her actions speak of symptoms of being either just depressive or having a bipolar disorder she is unaware about.
In Never Marry a Mexican, the short story from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros, Clemencia experiences cheating growing up and ends up leading a similar life and how her actions seem to correlate with depression or bipolar disorder. This story carries a lot of meaning behind it and can be interpreted as one would like but know that your actions have consequences and that is ultimately what one should morally learn from this. The reason being is because of the mother, her daughter did the same thing as her. And then because the man, Drew, decided to cheat on his wife, he gets the backlash of his son being with the woman who was his mistress and the fact she told his wife of his infidelity, through gummy bears. Please be conscious of ones actions.
“Bipolar Disorder.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek. Vintage, 1991.
“Marital Infidelity Still Illegal In Colorado, But May Be Repealed This Week.” Huffington
Post, Huffpost News, 19 Feb. 2013, <www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/19/marital-infidelity-illegal-colorado-pat-steadman-daniel-kagan_n_2718449.html>.
Negash, Sesen, and Martha L. Morgan. Contemporary Family Therapy: An
International Journal. Business Media New York, 2015. 28 October 2015. http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=15&sid=d1b5aa8e-7ef2-4952-a0d1-cdd586fe96bb%40sessionmgr4008
“Understanding the Types of Bipolar Disorder.” Greenhouse, American Addiction Center,