Presentation on theme: "It is my experience that the myths we enter most deeply are not ones that we choose out of some book of myths. Rather, in some profound way, these myths."— Presentation transcript:
It is my experience that the myths we enter most deeply are not ones that we choose out of some book of myths. Rather, in some profound way, these myths choose us. It is my experience that the myths we enter most deeply are not ones that we choose out of some book of myths. Rather, in some profound way, these myths choose us. Christine Downing
Best known for her novel The House on Mango Street. Much of her writing is influenced by her Mexican-American heritage. She draws heavily upon her childhood experiences and ethnic heritage as the daughter of a Mexican father and Chicana mother, addressing poverty, cultural suppression, self-identity, and gender roles in her fiction and poetry. Creating characters who are distinctly Latina/o and often isolated from mainstream American culture, emphasizing dialogue and sensory imagery over traditional narrative structures. Cisneros seeks to create an idiom that integrates both prosaic and poetic syntax. Sandra Cisneros 1954-
Setting The short story “Woman Hollering Creek” is set in Seguin, Texas where the actual Woman Hollering Creek runs under Interstate 10, north of San Antonio. The origin of the creek’s name is often associated with the legend of La Llorona, the spirit of a woman who is said to haunt the area.
Role Models? In “Woman Hollering Creek” Cisneros juxtaposes the heroines of contemporary Mexican telenovelas with the traditional figure La Llorona to imply that then, now, and always the ideals of femininity that Mexican popular culture presents to its women are models of pain and suffering. From “On Not Being La Malinche: Border Negotiations of Gender in Sandra Cisneros’s ‘Never Marry a Mexican’ and ‘Woman Hollering Creek’” by Jean Wyatt
Borderlands A borderland offers a space where such a negotiation with fixed gender ideals is at least possible. Where cultures overlap, definitions become fluid. Cisneros draws attention to the shifting meaning of signifiers in the border zone by using the same “border” phrase to mean two different things: “en el otro lado” “on the other side” can mean either the U.S. or Mexico, shifting its referent according to where the speaker stands. These borders can be literal or figurative or both. Borderlands critiques are those that examine texts from this liminal perspective. (Wyatt, “On Not Being Malinche”.)
Three Icons: Virgin, Whore, Mother From what Chicana feminist writers report, that Mexican social myths of gender crystallize with special force in three icons: “Guadalupe: the virgin mother who has not abandoned us, la Chingada (Malinche): the raped mother whom we have abandoned, and la Llorona: the mother who seeks her lost children.” (Wyatt, “On Not Being Malinche”.)
The Legend of La Malinche/La Llorona Legend has it that La Malinche is the native woman who helped Cortés & the Spanish defeat the Aztecs. The night before Cortés’ departure, La Malinche escapes with her twin babies, whose father is Cortés. Cortés’ soldiers soon discover her absence and set out after her. Upon arriving at the lake that Mexico City now rests on, the soldiers surround La Malinche. Just as they are at the brink of capturing her, she pulls out a dagger and stabs her babies in the heart, dropping their lifeless bodies into the water. La Malinche lets out a heart- wrenching cry, “Oh, hijos mios.” (Oh, my children.) Up to the time of her death she is seen and heard near the lake weeping and wailing for her children. She is given the name La Llorona, the crying woman. She is most often seen on the night of a full moon, wandering the streets wearing a white dress with a light veil covering her face. Her agonizing cries terrorize everyone who sees or hears her. Sightings of La Llorona spread throughout the most of the Americas with people in each town/city/country believing she is local to their own area, creating a powerful and passionate belief in this ghost.
La Malinche: November 8, Facsimile (c. 1890) Lienzo de Tlaxcala ‘Infamously described by Octavio Paz as “the cruel incarnation of the feminine” The poet Carmen Tafolla, directly challenged Paz’s depiction of her as “la chingada”. I became Interpreter, Advisor, and lover. They could not imagine me dealing on a level with you—so they said I was raped, used, chingada. In reclaiming the historical figure of Malinche, Chicana feminists rejected her stereotyped image as the violated indigenous woman whose body symbolized Mexico itself and instead repositioned her as creator of “Mother world/ a world yet to be born. …/la raza.” Chicana feminists shifted the depictions of La Llorona from her metaphorical relationship to the land of Mexico to emphasize the gender and class dynamics of her mythology. In these accounts, she is reinterpreted as the prey of a Spanish man who has rejected her to marry a woman of his own status.’ (Text on this slide from La Malinche by Michelle Moravec, “The Politics of Women’s Culture” at history/venas-de-la-mujer/introduction/the-past-put-into- chicanismo-perspective-images-of-the-chicana/la-llorona/) history/venas-de-la-mujer/introduction/the-past-put-into- chicanismo-perspective-images-of-the-chicana/la-llorona/
Archetypes According to Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the base from which the themes of human life emerge. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected cross-culturally in the form of myths, symbols, rituals and instincts of human beings. Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behavior.
Modern Day Lloronas? Is this an archetype for the very real, very tragic Post partum depression? Tina Marie Reynolds Andrea Yates Amanda Hamm And way too many more….
“Weeping Women” of Other Cultures? Medea, Greek Banshee, Irish Lilith, Jewish Lamia, Greek Onryo, Japanese Crying Wind, African Woman in White, Philippines Lady of Lake Ronkonkoma, Native American These are just a few… there are many more… Perhaps building on the archetype idea…how, then, can claiming an archetype, even one that is inherently destructive, be seen as empowering? Can it?
a Popular (fun) depiction… Photo screenshot from Youtube video at this URL. 2004, aired in California
Llorando A more serious depiction… Photo screenshot from Youtube video at this URL. From the movie Mulholland Drive, 2001
Another– really shows the cultural tradition of the image From Grimm, Season 2. Photo screenshot from Youtube video at this URL.
From Supernatural, Pilot, Season 1. Way scarier. Doesn’t call her La Llorona, but that’s totally what she is. Photo screenshot from Youtube video at this URL.
Costume, 2012 Controversy? Or cool? “They're familiar characters in the debate over controversial Halloween costumes: suicide bombers, geishas, gangsta rappers, rednecks and sexy nurses. Such costumes regularly draw allegations of racism, sexism or insensitivity. But where do fully-clothed folk legends fit in?... True, she was wearing a lace bustier under a shawl, but the layers upon layers make her appear more like the haunted bag lady than a sexy spirit. It's the folk legend's cultural significance -- and the lack of skin, save an inch of midriff -- that, for some, make this costume more acceptable than sexy señoritas or Mexican tequila guy.” From CNN: In Debate over Offensive Halloween Costumes, Where's the Line?“ Writer Andrea Gompf argued: “We could probably argue about the authenticity of La Llorona’s depiction, but I personally think it’s kind of cool that they included her at all” (REMEZCLA).
Border Crossings It can be argued that Cleofilas must redefine La Llorona in order to redefine her own possibilities as a woman and a mother. Do you think she is successful at redefining the roles offered to her? How?
Works Cited Chalquist, Craig. “Introduction: The Tears of Llorona.” Gompf, Andrea. “American Apparel Takes On La Llorona & Other Hispanic Halloween Costumes.” REMEZCLA. Grinberg, Emanuella. "In Debate over Offensive Halloween Costumes, Where's the Line?"CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Oct Web. 19 Feb Moravec, Michelle. "The Politics of Women's Culture." The Politics of Womens Culture. The Politics of Womens Culture, n.d. Web. 19 Feb "Sandra Cisneros." eNotes Publishing. Ed. Scott Locklear. eNotes.com, Inc.,. eNotes.com. 20 Feb, Santistevan, Bernadine. "The Cry: La Llorona." The Cry - La Llorona. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb Wyatt, Jean. "On Not Being La Malinche: Border Negotiations of Gender in Sandra Cisneros's 'Never Marry a Mexican' and 'Woman Hollering Creek,'" in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall, 1995, pp
Photo credits (Where possible. Some photos are missing credits because they are unavailable on the Internet where I initially found them). Slide 2: Cisneros: Vida En El Valle Blogs: The Latin Voice of the Central Valley." Vida En El Valle Blogs RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb Slide 3: Woman Hollering Creek sign: "Woman Hollering Creek." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Jan Web. 19 Feb Slide 4: photo of Woman Hollering Creek: "WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK." Woman Hollering Creek. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb Creek.htm Creek.htm Slide 7: B/W picture: "Steven Symes, Writer." : La Llorona or the Ditch Witch. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb ditch-witch.html.http://writerstevensymes.blogspot.com/2011/09/la-llorona-or- ditch-witch.html Slide 17: American Apparel costume: 2.html?cos=17http://store.americanapparel.net/halloween201 2.html?cos=17 Slide 18: Wilkins, Cathy. "La Llorona by Cathy Wilkins - Fantasy Art Galleries at Epilogue.net - Fantasy and Sci-fi at Their Best." La Llorona by Cathy Wilkins - Fantasy Art Galleries at Epilogue.net - Fantasy and Sci-fi at Their Best. N.p., 1 Sept Web. 19 Feb