The House of Bernarda Alba

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Neither you nor anyone else can keep watch inside a person's heart."  --Federico Garcia Lorca

I recently finished reading "The House of Bernarda Alba" by Federico Garcia Lorca in English.  For those of you who don't know Federico Garcia Lorca was a Spanish author who wrote poetry and plays.  "The House of Bernarda Alba" is one of his most famous plays.  I read this play years ago in Spanish while I was doing my studies at the university.  With an understanding of human nature, Garcia Lorca writes about a houseful of women, Bernarda Alba (the mother) and her five daughters.

Bernarda Alba is a domineering control freak when it comes to her daughters.  She won't allow them to go out of the house or be near men. She wants to control every aspect of their lives. She swears that her "watchfulness will take care of everything" and that she will be able to keep her girls in line simply by watching their actions and reacting accordingly.  Her plan backfires.  Her girls refused to be manipulated by their mother.  Bernarda Alba's actions have tragic consequences in the end.

I really enjoyed reading this play the second time around.  It is a great illustration of how family relationships can be demolished and how dysfunction in a family can lead to the death and destruction.  While it all sounds dismal and gloomy, the play is actually a great read!

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