Never Marry a Mexican by Sandra Cisneros paints a picture of a young woman named Clemencia who has spent her days as a homewrecker and in love with a man that will never belong to her. When her mother told her “Never marry a Mexican”, she truly took that to heart and swore never to marry—not just Mexican men, but any men (Cisneros 68). Clemencia’s reasoning behind this is that she knows how terrible men really are on the inside: “I’ve witnessed their infidelities, and I’ve helped them do it” she states (Cisneros 68). Even with all the men she had these relations with, she couldn’t help but fall in love with one—Drew. Sadly, she knows deep down that she can never have him for herself and this angers and saddens her a great deal. One may think of her as just some promiscuous female who takes great and deliberate pleasure in committing adulterous acts—but beneath it all, she’s just another sad, hopeless romantic who knows that because of women like her and men like Drew, marriage will never be a harmonious thing in her life.
“I admit, there was a time when all I wanted was to belong to a man,” Clemencia tells us (Cisneros 68). However, she’s always had her men “borrowed” because she believes she’s too much of a romantic for true love (Cisneros 69). “Marriage has failed me, you could say,” Clemencia says. “Not a man exists who hasn’t disappointed me, whom I could trust to love the way I’ve loved. It’s because I believe too much in marriage that I don’t. Better to not marry than live a lie.” (Cisneros 69). In this phrase, she foreshadows how her father disappointed her, how all the men she’s been with disappointed her, and most of all, how Drew disappointed her.
Clemencia tells us how after her father died, it was like her and her sister, Ximena, didn’t matter (Cisneros73). “Once Daddy was gone, it was like my ma didn’t exist, like if she died, too,” Clemencia writes (Cisneros 73). She tells us the story of how when she was younger she had a small finch that got its leg twisted around one of the bars in its cage and the leg eventually just dried up and fell off (Cisneros 73). After the leg fell off, the finch just went on living, and lived a long time, without it (Cisneros 73). She explains how her memory of her mother is like the finch’s dead, dried-up leg (Cisneros 73). Clemencia says, “… and I stopped missing where she used to be. Like if I had never had a mother…. It was as if she had stopped being my mother. Like I never even had one.” (Cisneros 73). This phrase here is a huge indicator of mommy issues. She even goes on to say how when her father was dying, her mother was already seeing a new man and that she can never forgive her mother for doing that (Cisneros 73).
Drew and Clemencia met because he was her teacher. She says how he “took her under his wing and in his bed” (Cisneros 76) —she wasn’t even nineteen yet; she could have even been a minor, but she doesn’t say how old she was when they first started sleeping together. She says how she was honored that he’d done her that “favor” … that she was that young back then to see it as a favor rather than an abuse of power (Cisneros 76). She became attached to him, even with all the other men she borrowed. Drew was her favorite; the one man she truly loved. Being her first love, she was insecure and got her view of her own self-worth from Drew’s eyes rather than her own. This is shown when she says, “You said I was beautiful, and when you said it, Drew, I was” and, “I liked when you spoke to me in my language. I could love myself and think myself worth loving” (Cisneros 74).
This flame inside of Clemencia that was ignited by her first love, Drew, starts to burn more fiercely—but not in a good way. Clemencia becomes incredibly jealous of Drew’s wife by acting like she’s so much better than her because his wife is white. She says if Drew’s wife was brown, she may have had a harder time forgiving herself (Cisneros 76). She says how she’s the one who “gave Drew permission” to give his wife a child because apparently Drew was going to leave his wife for Clemencia (Cisneros 75). Clemencia was sleeping with Drew the night his son was born—in the same bed that his son was conceived in (Cisneros 76). Clemencia has this strange fascination with wrecking homes. She even says that this wasn’t the only time she’s slept with a man while his wife was giving birth and that it gives her some sort of crazy joy to “kill those women like that, without their knowing it” (Cisneros 77).
One time, Clemencia was drunk and called Drew at four in the morning, only for the phone to be picked up by his wife, Megan (Cisneros 77). Clemencia told Megan that she wanted to talk to Drew and Megan didn’t even question why some woman was calling her husband at four in the morning, just handed the phone to Drew and said, “Excuse me, honey, it’s for you” (Cisneros 77). Clemencia thought it was hilarious that Megan did that. She was so jealous and hateful of Megan that Clemencia shoved gummy bears in all of Megan’s things just so she would know Megan would be off-put by it; that Clemencia had been there and would always leave a mark on their family (Cisneros 81). Clemencia waited nineteen years. Just to be with Drew’s son. To get Drew back, even if it was just a piece of him, because she knew she could never get Drew back. And it wasn’t the same as having Drew for herself.
“People don’t fall in love with each other
because it’s convenient. They fall in love because they fall in love, and
― Harriet Evans (Goodreads).
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek: and Other Stories. New York: Vintage; 1st Vintage contemporaries ed edition, 1992. Print.
Goodreads. “A Hopeless Romantic Quotes by Harriet Evans.” Goodreads, Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/516280-a-hopeless-romantic.
Image: Keller, Maria, et al. “Does Cheating Always Mean The End Of a Relationship?” Love Dignity, 30 Jan. 2017, http://www.lovedignity.com/does-cheating-always-mean-the-end-of-a-relationship/.