One of the main concerns of Sandra Cisneros’ short story is the use of lanuguage. The main character is submited to a language that she does not understand. This struggle between languages is not an extraorinary one for the everyday life in the capital of Mexico. The present picture depicts a common image that us seen outside the Biblioteca Central. Men and women selling cigarros and paletitas, as the lady on the right, are as normal as the fountain of Tlaloc at her back. Most of them use Spanish for business and keep their own language to address their families. At the same time, the student on the left walks away of the library maybe dizzy and filled up with Chaucer’s words.
The shadow that divides this piece of land makes me think about the border motif in Cisneros’ text. The border or the line that divides Mexico from el otro lado is an illusion just like the shadow in the picture. Although borders are human constructions, in Cleofilas’ case they are a space of transition. Borders are subtle because as the narrative voice tells us: “The town of gossips. The town of dust and despair. Which she has traded for this town of gossips. This town of dust, despair” (Cisneros 50) and they are also abrupt because of the change of language and code.
“Soledad y Dolores”
Alethia and I have two market bags that we use to bring our lunch to school. I bought these bags in Tlacolula, a small town in Oaxaca that is famous for its market. Looking at these bags, the use we give them, and the scholarly context in which they are now, make me think about a contrast between two different cultures that we may find in “Woman Hollering Creek.” I believe that within a single nation, Mexico, we may find this contrast… And this maybe noticeable even in small things as these.
Taking into account one feature of Cleófilas’ fragmented life in
“Woman Hollering Creek,” this is to say, the sense of belonging
nowhere, neither in Mexico nor in “al otro lado.” Every time I see the
sun dissapears behind the mountains, I like to perceive the light of
the sky, as a chiarobscuro, in which is neither sunlight nor
moonlight. There is only the impression of blurred colours between
blue, black and orange. Thus, when it is neither day nor night, it
seems to be we are between borders and belong nowhere.
I decided to take this photo because of “La mujer dormida”, the name of this volcano evokes what I think happened to Cleófilas throughout the short story. She is a “sleeping woman” who suffers the abuse of her husband and fantasizes with her life to be a telenovela. And in a way, it also makes reference to this lack of sound that exists in the text.
It was not difficult to find a relationship between what was being played on stsge and Toni Cade Bambara’s short story. The tune of the bass and the beats of the drum were as rhythmic as the narration of “Medley”
Juan Manuel Cisneros:
People traveling in the subway can function as an analog device to the one we see brilliantly displayed in Meadly. In the story different presences rise in and fade out of the narrative, flashing unexpected like improvised tunes of a randomized composition, yet carefully designed and used. These people who trespass a passage of a life as memories, work as digressions in a story that is being told and that is enriched with the many different emotional and substantial properties that they embody. For this reason the work of Bambara gives the impression of a planified chaos that can be paired with the chaotic planification of the day-to-day flow that we see in the subways. Here the confluence brings about inference, deduction and interpretation of the countless features of the persons, each holding a narrative voice themselves, who have a unique story. And all of this is nonsense as they are renewed by the following carts. So this process of transportation can be taken as a permanent digression that can be focalized on a specific individual, she for example, and related from that point; connecting with what the narrator considers meaningful. Also there is the constant music-seller with speakers attached to their backs, charming or teasing with their gangnam style, their 80´s-90´s sold as 70´s, or their best-of-something. But it is choice of the narrator whether it belongs to the story.
Juan Manuel Cisneros:
This picture reminds me of the roll that women have played in many different cultures throughout the centuries. I think this one is remarkable because it depicts a very comfortable and warm picture of a “typically American” home that epitomizes a so called pursuit of happiness. In this particular country, so proud of its rights, values and equality, slavery has become nothing but an eco of a very distant nation and , yet, one that can fill the hearts of its people with true pride. Here we have the same reasoning that stands before slavery but polished and sophisticated in a convenient package that pictures how lovely is the American life and how everything fits in its appropriate place. Compared to this, the fact Cleófilas life is delimited by isolation and cultural, linguistic, physic and economic marginalization is the only thing turns her condition into a social deficiency. It is very likely that both characters, one blonde and the other Mexican, suffer the same mistreatment, are beaten up and are unable to defy their status. However this box of a typical and ordinary board game understates that she is fine and that she has nothing to complain for she has fulfilled the ethos of her nation and all this is offered to the audience as a trustful product endorsed by the government that supports this way of living and keeps the misery of the underdevelopment away.
Near my house there is this wall with an image of the Virgin Mary. One thing that has always captured my attention is the differences in her representation. I mean, European Virgin Marys have different physical traits than Mexican ones. And this may have been one of the crucial factors that led this religious figure to become such an important cultural link for some Mexicans who are abroad, especially for Chicanos. Probably this image is so relevant to them because it has become part of a cultural baggage rather than an adorative religious symbol, such as “telenovelas” and commonplace “Mexican” phrases (such as, “¡Híjole!” or “¡Ándale!”). And it is also worth mentioning that Cisneros herself has a tattoo of the Virgin Mary.
The character of the woman in Medley is fragmented but at the end her role as a mother, which is represented by this song, is what remains.