Reading the short story “there was a man, there was a woman” I first initially thought the story centered around two people, a man, and woman, who were going through difficulties and drinking in hopes that they would have the courage to finally speak out on how they were feeling. However, when discussing it with my peers and professor, I came to realize it doesn’t necessarily state what the man and woman were feeling or if at all they were going through the same thing. For example, the man could be drinking to finally open up about something hard going on in his life. And the woman could be drinking to finally open up that she has been doing really well lately, or vice versa. Considering the author, Sandra Cisneros, left out those details is all about interpretation, and made me really question, if she did that because she wanted us to see ourselves, whether we are going through a hard time, or a good time in our lives and how the characters reflect that on ourselves. It also seems very parallel with their lives, how they are going through the same thing, going to the bar every Friday but in different weeks on Fridays in hopes that the alcohol in their veins would spark and lead to them being brave enough to open up about their lives, but yet the alcohol never does its supposed job, but then why do they still come back is also a rising question of mine. Which goes back to the initial question of, what is it they want to open up about, and is the author trying to convey a message through her characters.
I chose this story because of my interests of the characters, both the man and the woman, who are nameless, and only motioned with a direct way of calling them ‘the man’ or ‘the woman’. The theme is in all actuality a correlated pairing and opposite parallel multifunction. The opposites are that they are the opposite gender to each other and that they both come to the bar on different Fridays because of their paychecks. But they both come for the same reason, and on Fridays with friends. With that being said, I think it wouldn’t be hard to guess that only one of hem was going through a hard time, and the other a good time. Or that both of them were going through a hard time. The reason for the estimated response to their behavior would be that whenever their paycheck came to be they would go to the bar, and drink until they thought they would open up, but never did. It seems like they drink a lot if they hope alcohol would be a way for them to open up but they never do, so it doesn’t seem very impossible, it actually seems likely that they drink a lot. It says “ The man drank and drank with his friends and believed if he drank and drank, the words for what he was feeling would slip out more readily, but usually he simply drank and said nothing.” and the same parallel statement with the woman. Backing that claim, whenever they got their paycheck they would head to the bar, as if the minute they could get alcohol, they would get it, without any thinking involved and head to the bar. It seems they might have a drinking problem and rely on drinks for their sense of trying to open up.
I can interpret two outcomes of the ending of the story which I thought was quite fascinating. Throughout the story, every detail of the woman had a parallel to the mans’ and vice verse, except on the ending. It tells that the woman would come home, and cry herself to sleep where the man would contemplate and stare at the moon, and swallow his tears. This could mean, that society makes it hard for men to open up and not share their feelings with anyone, not even themselves, so they don’t even cry when no one is around. Yet the woman cried when no one was around, because she might have felt safe and comfortable to do so. Or this could mean that the man, had something happy to say because he didn’t cry and that the woman didn’t. Which wouldn’t be hard to believe because the whole short story is rotation is pinned at the barrels of these two individuals and the selected whereabouts of their lives. Or it could mean that because the woman had something happy to reveal she cried because of the feelings of happiness, and that the man didn’t cry and instead wallowed up his tears because of the fact that it was hard to open up about. The moon also seems to bring a=out o symbolic message in this short story, one of realizing that it was another parallel where they both looked into it at night, where one cried, and the other swallowed. The woman only looked at the moon and cried, but the man looked at the moon, thought about “those who had worshipped or loved, or died before that same moon, mute and lovely. Now blue light streamed inside his window and tangled itself with the glow of the sheets. The moon, the same round O. The man looked and swallowed” It seems like the man got more indulgence in this, and the author didn’t make it subtle either. The difference of the ending is a clear divide and it could be into society’s view of gender roles, or different placement of where they were at in their lives at the very moment. The answer is unclear on what exactly was happening and why the different reactions. Why did the man contemplate and swallow? And why didn’t the woman do the same? Is it because they are going through different things? Or maybe it’s because of who they were are people, or maybe there is something that happened in the past that made them who they are, a hidden detail, that reveals why and how they had different reactions and why everything was parallel to each but the very strange ending.
There are many things we can take into consideration, it seems like the both of them are in looking for something but no finding it, and it seems like it each other that they long for. It doesn’t even have to be in a romantic way, but maybe just a friend who will understand, but because they have a schedule that they both pay credit to, they never met. This lesson may be teaching us that what we are looking for is there, if we not only look hard enough, but try different things, and challenge yourself to be uncomfortable in needs to grow. It also teaches us that no matter what you’re going through, you are not alone, and the moon symbol helps portray that. That it is someone in the world right now, saving their sorrows for the moon, their laughs for the moon, their hearts and souls to bare in front of the moon before them. And that you are never alone.