25 pages 50 minutes read

Sandra Cisneros

Woman Hollering Creek

Fiction | Short Story Collection | Adult | Published in 1991

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Summary and Study Guide


Woman Hollering Creek, a short story collection published in 1991, presents compelling narratives featuring female characters of all ages, eras and walks of life. The youngest of the characters are girls still occupied with elementary school and making friends. Teenagers are also presented, exploring the new challenge of romantic and sexual relationships. Lastly, adult women’s stories are told, as they work to navigate complex lives filled with personal and professional relationships.

The first section of the book features stories told from the vantage point of female children, in most instances. The stories explore familial relationships with parents, siblings and elders. Economic conditions play a role in the children’s lives. Their ethnicity is sometimes seen as a unifying force; other times, it is a limitation and a component of their life they wish to escape.

The teenagers of the second section of the book engage in risky decision-making. They are so desperate to enter the adult world that they put themselves in harm’s way, running away from home or having sex with strangers. They struggle with seeing any consequences at all for their actions. The future alone seems to captivate them and they are blind to the realities of the present moment. Peer acceptance and experiencing something exotic appeals to them most.

In the last, and longest, section of the book, we see the myriad of experiences in adult women’s lives. Some of the women are admitted adulteresses who profess that they wish to live no other way, and that their independence is all they want. Others are trying to make a less-than-ideal relationship work. Some of the women are stuck in relationships that are abusive. Other women struggle with partners who are unfaithful or duplicitous. Beyond the scope of their romantic relationships, the women look to art, pop culture and religion for meaning in their lives. Occasionally, other women are the enemy. Other times, women rescue one another from perilous situations involving men. In their heartache, they identify with other women who have suffered in love and life, too.