Sandra Cisneros" short story "There Was a Man, There Was a Woman" has an overriding theme of loneliness, and incorporates a great deal of irony, symbolism, and repetitious language. Cisneros integrates her bilingual background as well as her experiences as a young girl, which really helps the reader relate. Cisneros draws on her feminist views, Mexican heritage, and her struggle to fit in a constantly changing environment to write truly heartfelt stories with themes that almost anyone can relate to.
In the story, both of the main characters appear to be very lonely. They seem to struggle every other Friday night to fill this immense social void. The characters spend money and laugh loudly, however only as an attempt to fit in, which really shows how lonely they are. Cisneros may have chosen loneliness as here theme because of her father and his past experiences. As Cisneros reminisces in On Writing she says "Some of the stories he has told about his first months in the United States with little or no English surface in my stories."(248). The theme could also come from the many times Cisneros herself has felt alone in past experiences, such at the Iowa Writers Workshop about which she says "I felt foreign and out of place" (247).
Within the story there are three defining ironic moments. First is how the characters happen to be paid on opposite Fridays and will never meet because of it. This is considered irony of situation because the readers and characters expect the next payday or Friday night out to open the door to a new relationship, however they do not ever meet. Cisneros uses irony of a situation to create a false sense of hope for the main characters and reader to believe in. .
Second, the name of the bar, The Friendly Spot Bar, is ironic. The characters go to the Friendly Spot Bar, which for them is not friendly at all it is a great disappointment .
time and time again.