ES 100 Essay 1 - Agency: Admiring Some of the Women in Her...

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Agency: Admiring Some of the Women in Her Wild American Self and Woman Hollering Creek The short stories in Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek and Galang’s Her Wild American Self are full of powerful women who question their culture’s traditional gender roles taking control of their own lives and having aspirations. These same women struggle with the acceptable gender roles in their culture, and are considered to be different in their societies and families for simply questioning them. However, these women provide powerful examples to the reader and to women, of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, to confront culturally acceptable gender roles and take complete control of their own lives. In this paper, I will provide examples of some of the most interesting characters in Woman Hollering Cre ek and Her Wild American Self to reveal how their own agencies allow these women to ultimately live happier lives. The self titled short story in Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek shows Cleofilas, a woman who although suffers alienation and victimization by her husband and her community, establishes her own agency in prevailing over romantic notions of domestic bliss by leaving her husband and finding her voice through laughter. Cleofilas dreams of having a “passion in its purest crystalline essence. The kind the books and songs and telenovelas describe when one finds, finally, the great love of one’s life, and does whatever one can, must do, at whatever cost” (44). Since Cleofilas believes that “to suffer for love is good” she passively accepts her husband’s abusive self because it’s all in the name of love. Cleofilas is given to Juan Pedro by her father, moves from her father’s house into her husband’s house, does not drive or have access to a car, and is isolated with her child to the small house where she is expected to cook, clean, and care for her family without any complaints. Here we see that the acceptable roles of Mexican women revolve around taking care of the men in their lives. However, as Cleofina discovers that “a parent’s love for a child, a child’s for its parents, is another thing entirely” (43), she takes control of her life by escaping from her husband’s home to live a better life for herself and her children. Experiencing abuse makes Cleofilas reflect upon reality and fiction. Even though
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Cleofilas wanted to be married so she could experience love like that of a telenovela , in real life, she ends up experiencing domestic violence. Her story ends with her laughing as she is leaving the Woman Hollering Creek bridge, “then Felice began laughing again, but it wasn’t Felice
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ES 100 Essay 1 - Agency: Admiring Some of the Women in Her...

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