Sandra Cisneros is widely known in American literature for the poems, stories, and novels she writes. Those stories reflect on the themes of love, religion, feminism, family, hardships, and the livelihood of the characters she creates and introduces in her stories. Actually, the themes Sandra Cisneros implements in her literary works of art not just reflected upon just that. The specific themes that are reflected upon are her life growing up with a hollow family; the hardships she faced as the only daughter in her family and as a Latina in the outside world; her deep experience in searching for the passion and wisdom that inspired her to wrote; her experiences as a teacher; the many authors and artists that inspired her to write her novels and stories; and the many literary works, such as The House on Mango Street, that have received critical acclaims for her work. Sandra Cisneros is the embodiment of telenovelas in her literary works because of the hardships she had dealt with in her family, at school, and throughout her livelihood.
One of the factors that became an inspiration for Sandra Cisneros’s literary work was from the experience she had with her family. Cisneros tries to get along with the family especially with the hardships she had faced within the family regarding her relationship with her parents; Cisneros being the only daughter and living with six brothers; and moving back and forth from one place to another. One of the factors regarding family, was Cisneros’s relationship with her parents. On her mother’s side, it seemed like the connection between her and her mother was good. Everyday, Cisnero’s mother would tell her “good luck”, but in a form of a malapropism by saying “Good lucky!” (González 3). Moreover, the relationship between Cisneros and her father was nothing but “a complicated relationship” (González 3). But regardless of the roughness in the family bond between her and her father, Cisneros still loves him no matter what happens. Another contributing part to Cisneros’s literary theme of family was the fact that her family has not been open to her. In an interview with Cisneros, she stated, “ Most times, family are the least reluctant to tell me anything, and that’s why I have to invent so much when it comes to family’s stories” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros” 1). Evidently, her statement to what inspired the family theme in her stories is because of the fact that she stays close to family even if they don’t tell her much things about their lives. This is further stated in that same interview when she said, “But maybe it’s just my family that doesn’t talk about their inner life to me. Especially after I became a writer” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros” 1). Regarding to Cisneros’s travels between Chicago and Mexico, it was a stretch for her since “she would move between Mexico City and Chicago” (Mathias 1). That being said, her sense of having a permanent home is lost when it came to her being the only daughter; “not having sisters or friends” (Mathias 1) because of her travels; and her family not being open enough to even engage in a conversation.
Another theme that is implemented in Cisneros’s livelihood and in her stories is the sense of having a permanent home without any problems. The theme of home has been one of the central themes in her literary works “usually in the form of clever aphorisms” (González 2). In one of her literary works, The Little House, she wrote that the house in that work of literature was “permanent and stable” (Mathias 1) house because “it was one house for one family” (Mathias 1). From that metaphor of a stable house, she considered as “her dream house” (Mathias 1) because of the integrity of her family relating to how stable her dream house is. That theme also applied to her “as a metaphor to other developments in her life” (González 2). In other words, the events and other experiences the Cisneros had gone through were developing as the foundation for her idea of home. Simply put, she is the home. Looking at the idea of what her dream house should look like and the experiences she had gone through, it was as if the foundation of her house was firm, but a little bit critical. As mentioned earlier, the fact that she was the only daughter and that she did not have much friends due to her family travels got her into “reading and burying herself in books” (Mathias 1). From that point on, her interests in reading got her into writing poetry and later becoming a literary magazine editor in high school (Mathias 1). From being the poet and high school magazine editor she is, her passion for reading and writing later grew during her college years. After that, she became a teacher educating students that dropped out of high school in Chicago neighborhoods. From her experience as a teacher, two things had happened: she learned and understood “the problems of young Latinas” (Mathias 1) and that she didn’t want to be a teacher because she didn’t have enough confidence and that the teaching job took up her writing time (González 3). But from that teaching experiences, it brought Cisneros to a point where she understood herself and improved her skills in writing after growing out of the holes of where she had a “lack of knowledge” (González 3) and “immaturity at the time of her writing” (González 3). Furthermore, Cisneros better understood the concepts of the love, family, feminism, religion, and the many that she implemented in her stories.
As mentioned earlier, Cisneros’s family does not tell her much which leads to the point where she comes up with characters for her stories. Those characters are actually people she “has encountered in her lifetime” (Mathias 1). The stories she writes focus on the topic she had a better understanding of which are the ones that she considers as important: feminism, love, oppression, and religion (Mathias 1). On the theme of feminism, she has that theme deeply rooted in her literary works because of the fact that she had been the only daughter living with six brothers. Moreover, she got a better sense of it when she heard about the many problems the Latinas had in her classes during her years of teaching. In an Interview with Cisneros, she made two important notes on how much hardships women go through. She pointed out that women face hardships “because the world is so patriarchal” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros 1) and that women are “controlled by the Church, State, and consumerism” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros 2). Cisneros further stated in the same interview that women weren’t “allowed information about their own bodies, control of their fertility, church and state dictating choices that belong to women themselves” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros” 2). From her words, Cisneros states that women are restrained by society to what they can only see, hear, and understand. Everything else is off their limits and cannot be absorbed for their knowledge. That being said, Cisneros later pointed out that these excessive limitations among women are what drove its constituents to two pathways: one where women “equate ‘Girls Gone Wild’” to liberation” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros” 2) and another path where women “don’t but the Paris Hilton model” (“Interview with Sandra Cisneros” 2). Cisneros brings up those two sides because she came across women who don’t have the full idea of feminism and women who are intelligent and independent beings.
Another notable theme that is also focused on Cisneros’s literature is the theme of love and hardships between a man and woman. A definitive example of this theme is “Woman Hollering Creek” talks about the story of a loving relationship that turned abusive between a man, Juan Pedro, and a woman, Cleófilas. As the relationship is strained between the two due to their responsibility for their child and the man’s acts of abuse on the woman, Cleófilas dealt with her husband’s abuse by seeing it as a joyful act that can be happily cried over. She thought of this abusiveness as a good thing because she thought that “to suffer for love is good” (Cisneros 45). In a sense, Cleófilas is like a sponge absorbing the pain coming from her husband’s wrongdoing. Another pointer in this relationship was when Cleófilas was slapped around by Juan Pedro many times. Her response to that physical abuse was that “she didn’t fight back, she didn’t break into tears, she didn’t run away as she imagined she might when she saw such things in the telenovelas” (Cisneros 47). From this story, Cisneros correlated “Woman Hollering Creek” to the hardships some women face in relationships and to the time she mentioned that women face times where they’re restricted by society and the patriarchy.
From the hardships and many experiences Sandra Cisneros had dealt with throughout her life, she was able to come up with themes based on her experiences with her family, education, and knowledge, she is acclaimed as one of the top American literature figures and writers in this country. These stories varied from themes relating to family, feminism, love, and hardships. Out of the work she had done and praise Cisneros had received, it came to a point where her literary works are taught in schools and colleges across the United States. From Cisneros, she sees this as a form of showing her experiences to readers who take in what she had gone through by reading stories about characters that define the themes that Cisneros writes into her literary works of art.
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. Vintage Books, 2002.
The literary works of Sandra Cisneros defines the themes of feminism, the patriarchy’s control over women, her culture, family, love, home, and much more through the stories she had written. She conveys stories, such as “Woman Hollering Creek”, as a way of inspiring her readers of her thoughts about feminism and how women are affected in relationships and in the outside world. “Woman Hollering Creek” is mentioned in this analysis to talk about the the topic of hardships that women face in abuse relationships. Sandra Cisneros is a renowned author for literary works like “The House on Mango Street”, “Woman Hollering Creek”, “Eleven”, and many other literary works.
González, Rigoberto. “Sandra Cisneros Opens up about Her Life in ‘A House of My Own’.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2015, www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-1004- sandra-cisneros-20151004-story.html.
The article talks about the experiences Sandra Cisneros had gone through which was the inspiration that led her to coming with literary works of art. She goes into detail by talking about her life with family; acting as a teacher for high school dropouts; becoming a writer with a clear understanding of what it means to have a stable life; and the hardships she and many women go through in society. This article will be used to discuss Cisneros’s family life, her years as a bookworm in school and a writer in college; and how she better understood herself. Rigoberto González is a writer and critic for the Los Angeles Times. He is also an English professor at the State University of New Jersey.
Mathias, Kelly. “Sandra Cisneros.” Sandra Cisneros, web.mit.edu/21f.714/ www/hispanos/ cisneros.html.
This summary of Sandra Cisneros sums up her metaphor of an ideal of home relating to her livelihood; her life as a child dealing with her family’s constant travels; and the inspiration behind her literary works, such as “The House on Mango Street”. From this, Cisneros has received many praises and acclaims for her works because of how much her books share an inspiration to many readers. This summary is used to discuss Cisneros’s childhood and the hardships she had faced. Kelly Mathias was a student at the University of Minnesota. She wrote this paper as part of her coursework for one the English courses she took during her college years there.
“Interview with Sandra Cisneros.” Chicago Public Library, www.chipublib.org/interview-with- sandra-cisneros/.
With the release of “The House on Mango Street”, Cisneros answered some questions during an interview regarding her life as the only daughter in the family going through life and her understanding of what women go through as society tightens their grip on them. Cisneros also discusses how she better understands the themes involved in her literary works. This interview is used in this literary analysis to further the integrity of the notions of the themes Cisneros brought up in her literature. The Chicago Public Library contains excerpts and biographies regarding various authors of literary works which are also seen at the start or end of the same piece of literature.