After reading the short passages “Bread” and “There Was A Man, There Was A Woman” by Sandra Cisneros, she tells a similar story of two people dealing with internal conflict, urged to accept inanimate objects or physical touch as a temporary solution for a long term affair. These stories are very similar in the way that they both convey a message dealing with two people struggling to find words for the emotions they are feeling, resulting in their thoughts being silenced. Cisneros tells stories of the man and woman of each story attempting to fill their void within with “butter”. A topical, temporary solution for a deeper issue when what they are looking for is the long term, deeper fix of the problem, their “bread”
In “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman”, Cisneros is very repetitive. What one does, so does the other. “Every payday, every other friday,” (Cisneros) she says. They visit the bar with their newly earned money, every payday. Unfortunately for the two, the man is “paid on the second and the fourth friday of the month.”, while the woman is “paid on the first and the third friday.” (Cisneros) People with such similar habits and routines, seemingly so compatible, are so far apart. At the end of each of their night out filled with loud laughs and good company, neither left satisfied. They left with an unaccomplished goal, stuck with the unease of that feeling unable to leave more readily. “At home when the night came down and the moon appeared,” (Cisneros) the woman gazed into the sky as she weeped of unease while the man contemplated a million thoughts. “Mute and lovely” (Cisneros). As Cisneros wrote in the story “Bread” she similarly wrote in this passage, “Now blue light streamed inside his window and tangled itself with the glow of the sheets.” (Cisneros). This, meaning all of the troubles of the world, can come into one’s life. The glow of the sheets, whether clean or dirty, the good and the bad in the world, is up to the individual to decide. “The man looked and swallowed.” (Cisneros), ready to take on the challenge of the new day. In this passage Cisneros does not mean to create the idea of a possible relationship unfortunate enough to be separated by different pay days. The meaning of this passage is to show the hardships in life can be dealt with in many ways and at many times. Everybody deals with hardship and difficult times, but the outcome is left up to how one interprets the situation whether it be the glass half empty or half full.
These are simple stories with lots of meaning behind them. Cisneros conveyed her message by simply creating a man and a woman dealing with internal struggles. Showing that in our society, the man is looked at to be “charming” and “mute” (Cisneros) unable to deal with internal conflict. In “Bread”, the man seems to ignore the inner challenges, the bread, and focuses more on the butter of the situation. “Him kissing me between big bites of bread.” (Cisneros). Focusing on the present situation with little emotion and thought put into the underlying meaning of how the woman may be feeling. He tries to create a better now. In the second passage, the man while similarly going to the bar for a drink, contemplates “lovely” (Cisneros), and is to look at the light of situations. For a woman on the other hand, her thoughts and feelings are suppressed. In “Bread”, she struggles with the internal conflict of his past. Her significant other previously had a joyous life filled with love, happiness, and a family. All while she has to struggle with the idea of being his second love and only hope to ever live up to the expectations and provide him enough happiness. Again, in the second passage, Cisneros exemplifies this concept by saying, “the woman raised her pale eyes to the moon and cried.” (Cisneros). She disgruntled, yet unable to freely speak her mind. The woman believed that by going to the bar and consuming a few beers, “her feelings would slip out more readily.” Our society has created a form of emotional expectations, silencing the feelings of those with afflicted thoughts and ideas.
Throughout relationships of my own, I have experienced similar miscommunication and muffled feelings. As discussed with “Bread”, my relationship has seen its “whole car smelt of bread” and my relationship has seen the “That’s just how it is. And that’s how we drove.” (Cisneros), moments. What Cisneros wrote about, was a series of indirect messages implying that we need to break these poor communication barriers and better communicate with out loved ones to protect the mental health of both man and woman. Relationships experience hardship due to lack of clarity and lack of communication. As a result of the inability to freely express how one feels, we turn to physical touch or get into situations where one goes to the bar every payday in hope to freely let loose of pent up thoughts and words, all to suppress our emotions in hope to “patch” issues we may have.
- Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1991.