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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

March 31st, 2008 (02:04 pm)

I am rereading Federico Garcia Lorca for the first time since high school. (In English this time, which is doubtless contributing significantly to my comprehension.) I remember from high school that he had a very complex and idiosyncratic system of symbolism in his work, full of striking images presented in unusual and Highly Meaningful ways. Unfortunately I didn't remember much of anything about it after a decade's break from his stuff.

I am happy to say that in the process of reading my way through Federico Garcia Lorca: Three Tragedies (containing Blood Wedding, Yerma, and The House of Bernarda Alba -- all of which, I believe, are subtitled Hoo Boy But These Women Are Crazy), I have managed to reassemble what I believe is a reasonably full decoding of Lorca's symbolism:

Black = Death
Green = Death
Silver = Death
Red = Passion? ...nah Death
Still water = Death
Running water = Death
Sea water = Death
Moon = Death
Horses = The simultaneous inevitability and futility of perseverance in the face of Death
Flowers (all) = Death
Anything Else That Happens to Come Up in the Course of a Work by Federico Garcia Lorca = Death

I don't worry about that last one too much, though, since you almost never encounter it.

Srsly. I like Lorca's stuff, find it completely and weirdly compelling, but... yeah. Death death death death death.


P.S. I miss my high school Spanish teacher. Death got a hold of her too. Last year, I guess, and I hadn't seen her in eight or nine years... but it still makes me sad. I hope death has been kinder to her than it is to the characters in Lorca's plays and poems.


Posted by: Instruction-free poison (redsnake05)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)

Just think, one day people could deconstruct your books, and pick out the symbols and analyse them. I think it's really interesting, even though I'm pretty crap at actually doing it. I must get better and read more actively. I'm sure it would improve my writing.

I can just imagine what someone would make of my fanfic: "And here we see the first use of dust, a symbol that haunts redsnake's later works. The author claims she just likes the aesthetic, but a closer reading shows the association of dust with pensive longing rising passion disregard for physical characteristics death." Lol.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)

Hahaha. You know, thus far I've read Blood Wedding and Bernarda Alba, but not Yerma -- so if it's not about women bein teh crazy, I'm sorry.

What's funny is that when I was in high school I had to analyze a poem of Lorca's for my final paper in Spanish and I wrote about how the sea in this poem represented the bitterness of life. My teacher wrote back on my first draft of the paper that, no, it symbolized the bitterness of DEATH. I argued with her about it, but the most she would concede was that life was bitter BECAUSE of death. So that's what my paper was about. About how life is bitter because of death.

I sort of see that in all of Lorca's symbols. Like, this horse business he's got going on is all about perseverance and weariness and blah blah blah... but THE HORSE FACES DEATH, and this DEFINES the horse's experience. Red might be passion, but PASSION IS TAINTED BY DEATH. Even when something actually symbolizes something else, it really doesn't at all, because the something else inevitably derives its ultimate meaning (or lack thereof) from DEATH.

His women are pretty kickass crazy though.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)


Posted by: Oriana (fairoriana)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)

I saw a stage version of Blood Wedding. About all I remember was that it had good costumes and didn't come out well in the end.

Posted by: Katie (october31st)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)


Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)

It took me way too long to figure out that that meant "gratuitous icon comment".

Posted by: Katie (october31st)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)


This also reminds me of the old Eddie Izzard routine on the typical day of Pol Pot or other such dictators: "Death, Death, Death, Death, Death, Death, Lunch, Death, Death, Death, Afternoon Tea, Death, Death, Death, Quick shower..."

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)

I just remember hearing about Lorca and Dali playing "cacahuate".

Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)

My high school (or some of the students there, at least) did a performance of The House of Bernarda Alba when I was in eleventh grade. Strangely, the moral I drew from it at the time was "if you have sex, you'll probably kill yourself after."

Posted by: she almost looks human--it must be the lighting (brightredday)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Art Klimt Judith I

I haven't read any Lorca yet, but I want to...especially since I got into the musical Bernarda Alba. Have you heard it?

Posted by: Haggis McBrylcreem (fr_defenestrato)
Posted at: March 31st, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)

Mel Brooks did it, right? :D

Honestly, I just don't see how it's even possible. I mean, does this get played in repertory with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Follies and The Crucible Revue?

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