A “Borrowed” Man and a “Vindictive” Woman
Adultery. According to the Institute for Family Studies, “20% of men and 13% of women reported that they’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse while married” (“Who Cheats More?”). This topic was a direct correlation with the short story, “Never Marry a Mexican” by Sandra Cisneros. In the story a young woman named Clemencia secretly carries a relationship with a married man. Both Clemencia and this man, Drew, shamelessly partake in this act despite Drew having a wife and son at home. While it is assumed for Clemencia to shed a little guilt, she in fact establishes “a bit of crazy joy” in her actions (Cisneros 76). In addition to this, Clemencia sabotages Drew in the relationship later throughout the story. Though there are glimmers of light in this character, Clemencia voluntarily hurts all parties during this unforgiving act, to which any reader can read her true intentions. Therefore, based on these observations, Clemencia is the type of individual who likes the idea of a relationship, but does not value the concept of one.
In the beginning of the story, Clemencia reflects on her previous ideal of being married. She claimed that there was a moment in time when she wanted to “wear that gold band on my left hand and be worn on his arm like an expensive jewel brilliant in the light of day” (Cisneros 68). While this seemed like a promising outlook for Clemencia, she later described her distaste for that lifestyle by then admitting she likes having her men “Borrowed”, men who do not contain the “bitter skin that daily living with a spouse can rend” (Cisneros 69). Clemencia does not want to take anything serious within a relationship. To her, it is easier to remain in the so-called “honeymoon phase” than to manage real-life problems between a couple. In other words, Clemencia does not find baggage to be very suitable for her life. While no one simply wishes for that as well, it is a necessary evil to face when sharing a life with someone. It’s impossible to always experience “the sweetest part of the fruit” (Cisneros 69). Couples deal with hardships to strengthen their connection between each other. Though Clemencia is not in a good position to be that emotionally involved (since she is evidently sharing a partner), it is very reflective of her personality for her to only want the easier route.
A similar instance in the story that refers to the argument that Clemencia likes the idea of a relationship, but would never value one, is when she blatantly sabotages her partner Drew. Throughout the majority of the text, Clemencia gushes over the way she feels when she is seen, spoken, or touched by Drew (“I liked when you spoke to me in my language”/ “you were all mine”/ “You said I was beautiful, and when you said it, Drew, I was”) (Cisneros 74-75). Although this lighter side to Clemencia seems to be released, it is instantly shattered by the following moments in the story where she becomes very cruel. One example was when Clemencia called Drew at four in the morning. Megan, Drew’s spouse, happened to answer the telephone. Since Megan is portrayed as a naive character, (because she did not question the reasoning behind the early phone call), the intentions for calling Drew while his wife is at home could have possibly been more intriguing for Clemencia. To clarify, this choice of action from Clemencia can not be believed to have a positive outcome. However, since Megan can be seen as a gullible character, Clemencia has decided to use that to her advantage, assuming that nothing would happen if she called. If Megan was not so unsuspecting, this scenario could have been turned in to a complete disaster for Drew. So, how can Clemencia be infatuated with this man, but spare no expense to target him? Another occasion of this was when Clemencia decided to secretly hide gummy bears around Drew’s house “in places I was sure she [Megan] would find them” (Cisneros 81). With a clear intention to be caught, Clemencia strategically placed the gummy bears in areas that would only be detected by Megan. She put them in nail polish, a makeup organizer, lipstick, and a few other things/locations. Again, referring back to the hope that Clemencia would feel any guilt towards her actions, she contradicts that idea when she claims she receives a “strange satisfaction wandering about the house leaving them in places only she would look” (Cisneros 81). Therefore, Clemencia cannot be capable of caring for another person if she decides to secretly destroy their life and the lives of those around her. Her entire emotions towards Drew is easily forgotten based on these contradicting examples.
Though it is easily detected that Clemencia has caused damage within Drew and Megan’s relationship, there can be a suggestion that her mother has highly influenced this behavior. Referring to an informative parenting article by Karen Stephens, it concludes that research has in fact found “Children, in general, do tend to grow up to be a lot like their parents” (Stephens). In short, Clemencia is possibly mimicking her mother’s behavior. Though it is not something Clemencia has approved (Cisneros 73), her likelihood of repeating the same cycle is proven to increase. However, as the readers can carry an understanding as to why Clemencia is the way that she is, it does not justify her actions completely. Like every individual on this planet, Clemencia is ultimately responsible for the actions that she commits.
Overall, Clemencia enjoyed being in a relationship, but could never appreciate the concept of one. Although she has shown true love to Drew in some moments in the story, her ability to hurt Drew and others in the crossfire have completely overshadowed that idea. Nonetheless, this story is very important to read because it recognizes the negative outcome(s) of committing adultery. Not only that, but it will also bring awareness to the people who have experienced this unfortunate situation.
“Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America.” Institute for Family Studies, https://ifstudies.org/blog/who-cheats-more-the-demographics-of-cheating-in-america.
Stephens, Karen. “Parents Are Powerful Role Models for Children.” Parenting Exchange, 2007. PDF.http://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/parents-powerful-role-models.pdf
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