Have you ever felt alone, even for just a split second? If you ever read any of Sandra Cisneros’ work, you can constantly see the theme of loneliness throughout many of her short stories. Perhaps this theme stems from her life of always being alone. During an interview with Pilar E. Aranda Rodriguez for The Americas Review, Mr. Rodriguez asked Cisneros why she has never married. Cisneros replies, “I’ve never seen a marriage that is as happy as my living alone. My writing is my child and I don’t want anything to come between us” (Rodriguez). She seems very comfortable with being alone, yet in the stories she portrays how loneliness is actually supposed to feel like. In the stories “There is a Man, There is a Woman,” “Woman Hollering Creek,” and “Never Marry a Mexican,” one can see how they are all connected through the theme of loneliness, but each character hides their feelings with their actions.
The way loneliness is portrayed in the short story “There is a man, There is a woman” can be expressed through the characters’ everyday life. The man and the woman’s friends cannot see how they truly feel and how hurt they are. For example, when the man and the woman drink with their friends on Friday’s, they drink hoping they would say something but never say it (Cisneros). Maybe they are trying to express how lonely they feel, yet they can never open up to close friends. It’s hard to believe how people could be doing the same thing right at the same moment, in the same place but they will most likely never meet. Although the man and woman share the same actions whenever there doing something, it seems very cruel that they will never know about each other. The theme of this story revolves around the idea that being alone doesn’t always mean that you are really alone because someone out there can be feeling the same thing you are feeling. In other words, your connected through the sense of loneliness.
In the story titled “Woman Hollering Creek,” loneliness is hidden through the violence of Cleofílas marriage. Being alone seems to be growing upon the main character, Cleofílas, as the story goes on. In the beginning of “Woman Hollering Creek,” it is as if Cleofílas is living that great way of life as all other great marriages. She was getting married, having a child, moving to another country, and everything seems to be going well. That is until her husband started to beat her. When he first hits her, she thought that the next time he did, she would do something about it. Yet, she never had it in her to defend herself. Then every time she gets hit, she progressively feels lonely as if her happiness was just what you feel in the start of the marriage. Than her true emotions begin to overwhelm her. Even after having one child and being pregnant with another, Cleofílas can feel less and less close to the man she married as if he just a fake lover. Alone with her kids she would push herself to do the unthinkable and would finally leave her husband. In spite of Cleofílas’ feeling of happiness and gratitude toward her children, she cannot hide how truly lonely she has become through her marriage. It’s clear how this story also shares the theme of loneliness, but is hidden with the characters actions.
Finally, the last story that takes part in the theme of loneliness is “Never Marry a Mexican.” This is a complicated story that is nevertheless a sad or appalling one, depending on your point of view. The writing is basically about a woman named Clemencia who enjoyed sleeping with married men. Although you could argue that she picked this up from her mother since the mother cheated on her dying husband when Clemencia was young, yet Clemencia is still an adult and has the option to say “no” to every situation. You can also argue that she was targeted by married men, but could have rejected them. Perhaps she feels like she needs to make bad decisions in order to feel less alone. Her first affair occurred while she was in college with a Professor who was married. Clemencia would grow to love this Professor but she knew that she would never truly be happy with him because as a young child, she saw from her mom that there was no such thing as true love. So, after denying the Professor of his offer to leave his wife for her, she would later regret her decision and try to fix her mistake but it was already too late because the Professor would never see her the same way again. Clemencia would then want revenge so she waited years to sleep with the Professor’s son. Throughout the whole story, Clemencia constantly enjoys her way of her life yet, she’s also trying to find love but was not able to. Even at the end of the story she said “I just want to reach out and stroke someone, and say There, there it’s all right, honey. There, there, there” (Cisneros). Clearly, she wanted to be with some but was truly alone. As if her purpose was just to create holes in marriages because she had no way of actually dealing with being lonely. As you can see, loneliness is a significant theme in this story but Clemencia covers this feeling up with her terrible deeds.
Being alone can be a very brutal thing. It is as if you were born just to be born and to never know a person that is close to you, without you even knowing. In other words, you feel like you have no purpose but there is someone out there that feels exactly the same way, you just might never meet because of the path you are in. You could say that its fate or just bad luck. In the end you still feel that empty spot in which someone is going to fulfill one day, but has not fulfilled yet. The thought of never understanding why you still feel lonely builds more and more whenever you think of your state of being alone. Almost as if the wound that was created by your past actions makes you more careless yet, scares you at the same time. That unwanted thought of being alone fills your mind and changes the way you look at life. In the stories “There is a Man, There is a Woman,” “Woman Hollering Creek,” and “Never Marry a Mexican,” each main character has a way of covering up their loneliness through their actions such as drinking with friends, pretending to think one’s marriage will change, or sleeping with married men. Which concludes that loneliness plays a great deal on how people act in certain situations. Perhaps the only way of stopping this feeling of loneliness is through companionship, which each character is seeking.
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, March 1992, Kindle Cloud Reader, read.amazon.com.
Rodríguez Aranda, Pilar E. “On the Solitary Fate of Being Mexican, Female, Wicked and Thirty-Three: An Interview with Writer Sandra Cisneros.” The Americas Review, 1990, pp. 65–80.