A good relationship is a difficult situation to find for many people in the world. Some find that they want a relationship, but are unable to obtain one, causing sadness from being alone. It might feel as though giving up on finding a good relationship is the right course of action. However, an axiom of life is the fact that the right person for everyone is out there in the world, it just takes a long time to find that right person. In Sandra Cisneros’ story “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman”, she describes the situation of a man and a woman, who go to a bar on the same day but different weeks, wanting the same thing, to find a relationship. They both are connected due to the feeling of loneliness and social anxiety; however, it’s hinted in the fact they would be right for each other. Even though they both feel as they are the loneliest person in the world, the reader knows that they would be right for each other, it just takes time for them to be able to meet. Cisneros illustrates the idea that the right person is out there for everyone by using these two people and their mutual feeling of loneliness, their need for connection and their social anxiety in order to give hope to those feeling the loneliness in the world and to encourage those with social anxiety to try to start relationships they want.
Cisneros uses the man and woman’s feeling of loneliness as guidance for readers that no matter how lonely someone feels, there is someone out there feeling the same way. For instance, as the two go back home from drinking each time they go out, “the woman raised her pale eyes to the moon and [cries]… The man [looks and swallows]” (Cisneros 133). This demonstrates the fact that each go out desperate to find someone, however never being able to find the one thing they’re looking for, love. This however displays the fact they both feel this way, making a connection between them as they both have this feeling of being lonesome, hinting in the fact that they would be able to understand the other’s feelings, showing how they would be perfect for each other. However, the man and the woman suffer from the inability to be able to communicate properly, as shown when “[they] simply drank and said nothing” at the bar (Cisneros 133). According to the study by affiliates of the University of Pennsylvania, their “study [suggests] that social anxiety is associated with interpersonal difficulties even in close relationships.” (Porter and Chambless). This presents the idea that to find someone to have a prosperous relationship with, one cannot shy away from encounters and has to be able to start conversations with other people. The study demonstrates the main problem for the man and the woman in Cisneros’ story, the fact they lacked the ability to start conversations with others in hopes of finding someone to start a relationship with. The two wanted to be able to open up and talk with someone at the bar (Cisneros 133), however they were unable to, as their social anxiety prevents them from being able to start conversations with others. Being able to start conversations with others in social areas like the bar they were in, would allow them to be able to become less lonesome, even with the possibility of them meeting later on once they start going out more, even to the bar on other days, instead of every other Friday (Cisneros 133).
Cisneros uses the man and the woman to exhibit the idea that people need connections with others in order to have a content life. As an Illustration, Cisneros uses the moon as a way to connect the man and the woman. As they both wallow in their loneliness, the moon shines on the two (Cisneros 133). This demonstrates the idea of connections between people, the fact that even during times of feeling immense loneliness, people are connected to others that are going through the same situation. It displays the idea that people need connections, without connections people are not able to function as properly as they should be able to. In the book Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connect by a professor of the University of Chicago, John T. Cacioppo, he states “Health and well-being for a member of our species requires, among other things, being satisfied and secure in our bonds with other people” (Cacioppo and Patrick 8). This reveals the idea that people innately need social connections for the betterment for themselves. The man and the woman suffer from sadness due to their lack of connections, which would be fixed once they finally are able to meet each other. Once they establish a social connection with each other, they would feel better as their need for connection with another person would be satisfied, improving their well-being.
Using the man and the woman from her short story “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman”, Cisneros demonstrates the idea the right person is out there for everyone, the fact that these connections people make with others in relationships are needed for a healthy life, and the main factor that causes people to not be able to make connections with others is their own social anxiety. Once the two are able to move beyond their social anxiety, the likelihood of them meeting will increase, and when they do, they would be able to develop their relationship and be happy with each other.
Cisneros, Sandra. “There Was A Man, There Was A Woman.” Women Hollering Creek and Other Stories, Vintage, 1991, 133.
Cacioppo, John T., and William Patrick. Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection. WW Norton & Company, 2008.
Porter, Eliora, and Dianne L. Chambless. “Shying Away From a Good Thing: Social Anxiety in Romantic Relationships.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 70, no. 6, June 2014, pp.546–561.
Lanette, Patrice. “Pink Full Moon Heart.” Angel Gateway, Cindy Ross Spiritual Intuitive, 10 April 2014, angelgateway.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/pink-full-moon-heart-opening-4-15-14/