Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still wet behind the ears...

The technique that became most apparent in the second half of Woman Hollering Creek is the intertwining of Spanish and English into one 'Spanglish'. The symbolism of Mexican immigrants living in the US but struggling to find their identity on both sides of the border is not lost in this conglomeration of languages. Cisneros is an expert at laying out Mexican slang within an English monologue...and I'm guessing that this is because that was how language worked for her while growing up. As I read the stories (such as Little Miracles, Kept Promises), I began to wonder what it would be like to not have any background in the spanish language and attept to read those short spanish prayers. Perhaps we get the feeling for who Cisneros's audience really is: Chicanos....the bilingual masses. I feel like she has let me into these secrets just because I have taken the effort to learn spanish and understand her culture. It's almost like she could care less for those people that don't take the time to understand even THAT necesity about her: her language.

I love all the different writing styles that surface in this book. It becomes almost overwhelming to catch onto a different style with every chapter, but it's still all written in that same sassiness that I have come to admire about Cisneros. I found that my least favorite story was Eyes of Zapata. It was full of magical realism, which I love, but something about it having to do with a historical figure made me pop out of that fantasy world of characters that Cisneros had created. And once again, the naive, frail female protagonist who stayed with her famous, cheating husband frustrated me. That opinion aside, considering that Cisneros couldn't have experienced this time period but still achieves such an amazing level of description is an incredible feat.

And finally we see two stories that have some relevance to eachother: Bien Pretty, and Tin Tan Tan. Yet even through this small victory of correlation, I couldn't feel a connection with the protagonist. I felt more connected to the childhood stories than any other section in the book. I have a suspiscion that my adult life experiences are a little more low-key as compared to those of Cisneros and her characters. Final response: this book made me feel very young.


Kaan said...

Hey Katie,

I liked, as usual, everything you said, but of course we don't agree completely! I think that the first part of your blog relating to the writing style of Cisneros is definitely true. In fact, I think that if a plain anglophone read this book with no previous knowledge of Mexico, let alone Spanish, they would have some issues.

As for "Eyes of Zapata" as I told you in class, it was my favorite! (Here's where we disagree Missy)I think the reason I liked it was because of how much it differed from the rest of the stories in the book. You're certainly right about her ability to describe the details of Zapata and her wife not having lived the revolution. I can imagine that would be difficult, but clearly she is very passionate about the subject, and Mexico as a whole, therefor it doesn't actually surprise me that someone as talented as her was able to do it so well.

Also, I totally didn't connect over the childhood stories. Maybe lightly, I smiled a bit, but that was it. This is what I mean by "we all react differently to things". I have a simple mind, I know.

Great observations as always!

Beth said...

Katie, I love your take on Cisneros' use of Spanglish. I really like the idea that she is letting us in on her secrets because we have taken the time to learn her language and are thus worthy. There is a definite yet unspoken feeling I get when reading, that she realy could not give a damn about those who don't know the very simplest of the basic spanish vocabulary she employs.