"These two words, originally derived from the same Latin
word, are pronounced identically and also share the idea of
'keeping apart.' But they have acquired quite different
A number of usage books define discreet as “prudent,”
“judicious,” “tactful,” or “circumspect.”
Discrete is defined as “separate” or “distinct.”
“I've had it with
these cheap sons of
bitches who claim
they love poetry but
never buy a book.”
When we consider the history of changing geographical borders between the
United States and Mexico, it is clear why Cisneros, Anzaldua, and other Chicana
writers find the metaphor of borders and borderlands such lush ground for both
fiction and nonfiction writing. Borders are invented, invisible boundaries that
can be changed quickly by treaty or war, and disputed areas can shift from one
country to another in a moment.
People do not transform themselves so easily; their language, culture, and
history cannot be changed by decree. Hence, victims of the border can find
themselves strangers in their own land, disenfranchised, often powerless
residents of a borderland country not their own. Mexicans who lived in Texas or
Arizona before those regions were seized by the United States have no
community to which they might return: other states in Mexico were never their
homes; therefore, they belong to neither the nor the new country. Thus, they
come to inhabit the edges of communities where the intersections of divergent
cultures produces multiculturalism: hybrid races, languages, and cultures.
Discuss the text in terms of postmodernism or
in articulation with a postmodern manifesto.
1. One postmodernist concern I noted in Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman
Hollering Creek” was the narrator’s frequent mention of the
telenovelas and how these shaped the perspectives of Cleofilas and
many other women in the story. As we move out of modernism and
into the 1940s, ‘50s, and beyond, television and the critique of
mass media begins to make its presence felt in the literary world.
2. [A]ll of the signifiers lack a meaning until Cleofilas or Cisneros gives
us one, which is a trait that postmodern authors have when writing
their stories. The artist no longer has to follow rules when handing
out meaning to objects, and they gain additional freedom in how
they express themselves in their work. Lastly, there is the imprint of
culture and impressionable traits, like the telenovelas and romance
books, which influence the reader on who Cleofilas is without
telling us who she really is.
Discuss a theme: love and passion
In her text Cisneros writes about wanting to have a life like
the ones that are portrayed in “novelas,” does she in a
sense write her own “novela” to demonstrate the reality
of the life of woman in a men’s world?
A Theme in “Woman Hollering Creek” is definitely gender
roles and the oppression of women. Having been around
only male figures like her father and six brothers, Cleofilas
Fernandez’s only “guide” of how to be a woman is
through watching soap operas on television.
Voices and the Voiceless; Power and
powerlessness; Spousal abuse
Q: What role does voice or articulation play in
“Woman Hollering Creek”?
When Cleofilas explains that “she had been so
stunned, it left her speechless, motionless, numb,” the
first time her husband struck her, it was the complete
antithesis to how she predicted she would react such a
Q: Does he beat her up in order to gain power as a
Q: Why does she not leave him sooner?
Throughout “Woman Hollering Creek”, Cisneros
comments on the deep-rooted female objectification
in North American societies. Although the story
centers on the thoughts and actions of Cleófilas, it
opens with the names of the two men who influence
her life the most. Her father is in the act of giving his
permission to her soon-to-be husband to take her
away, an age-old custom that highlights a woman’s lack
of rights in patriarchal societies. The way it is phrased
makes it appear that Cleófilas has no say in the matter,
that she is just another possession to be given away
when a man sees fit.
Q: In Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek”, how
do the female characters reflect attributes of the
modern day independent woman?
Q: What is the Significance of Cleofilas life, compared
to soap operas (telenovelas?)
Q: How does the American Dream figure into Cleofilas’
Does Felice yell when driving over the creek because
she is angry, joyful, or both?
Sherman Alexie (1966-
A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene tribal member, Alexie grew up on the
Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Alexie was born
hydrocephalic and underwent an operation at six months of age; he
was not expected to survive. Though he lived through the experience,
he was plagued with seizures as a child and spent most of his
childhood reading. In the eighth grade, he decided to attend Reardan
High School, located twenty miles outside the reservation. His
achievements in high school secured his admission to Spokane’s Jesuit
Gonzaga University in 1985, where he had a successful academic
career but began to abuse alcohol. Alexie transferred to Washington
State University in 1987 and began writing poetry and short fiction. In
1990 Alexie’s work was published in Hanging Loose magazine, a
success he has credited with giving him the incentive to quit drinking.
He has remained sober ever since.
Read Sherman Alexie 1207
“This is What it Means to Say Phoenix Arizona” 1213
What is Sherman Alexie saying in this story about the role
Discuss POV and how or why it is important to the plot.
Discuss the relationship of Thomas and Victor.
Discuss this story in terms of postmodernism, minority
theory, or multiculturalism.