The Effects of Frustration and Desire on Individuals in Society Essay
The characters in both Lorca and Esquivels’ pieces of literature portray the hardships and burdening lives while enduring restrictive love due to the oppressive female roles. Lorca creates the character, Bernarda Alba to act as the tyrant in his tale, leading some characters such as Adela and Maria Josefa to defy her and try to escape the tyrannical environment. Lorca expresses this uprising against Bernarda using colour as symbolism, while the house is symbolically used by Bernarda Alba as a means of repressing her family members and remaining in control.
Esquivel uses the characters, Tita and Pedro to demonstrate the frustrations of forbidden love on the individual due to Mama Elena’s harsh rule. The use of symbolism and the portrayal of the household tyrants used by the two Spanish speaking authors express the characters’ defiance due to their strained environments. Federico Garcia Lorca and Laura Esquivel both use symbolism as a means of expressing the frustration and desire felt by the characters to demonstrate the effects of forbidden love on the individual.Although symbolism is present in both novels, in The House of Bernarda Alba, it is evident that Lorca uses colour to show rebellion and need for passion out of a forbidden atmosphere that Lorca creates in the play. This is perhaps due to the fact that he was a homosexual in a time and place that strongly opposed it, which inevitably resulted in his execution. Throughout the play, dull colours such as black are used to demonstrate the uniformity and to show the harsh contrast between the colours. Colours such as red and green that are not approved by Bernarda Alba, the tyrant of the household, are used to describe the rebellious characters.
Lorca uses green to symbolize Adela’s rebellion and strong desire to set herself free where she says, “Tomorrow I’m going to put on my green dress and go walking in the streets. I want to go out! ” (Lorca 39) This green dress symbolizes her wish to break free from Bernarda’s hold upon her as she wishes to wear this vibrant colour instead of the monotonous mourning garments like the other women in the household. This symbolism is also present when Adela hands Bernarda a fan in Act 1 where, “(She hands her a round fan decorated with red and green flowers)” (Lorca 21).Bernarda quickly responds with her, “(hurling the fan to the floor)” (Lorca 21) and demanding her to give her “a black one” (Lorca 21). She wishes to fulfill her passion with Pepe el Romano, a married man, and seems to be fearless willing to go to any extent to accomplish this as long as she can “put out this fire I [she] feel[s] in my [her] legs and mouth. ” (Lorca 59) This sexual frustration and desire for Pedro cannot be fulfilled as Lorca has created the character of Bernarda Alba; making a tense environment, prohibiting any affection and passion to flourish.
Just as Adela has to contain her love and passion, so must Bernarda’s mother, Maria Josefa, where purple is used to demonstrate her wish to find a man and rebel against her daughter. “She took her rings and the amethyst earrings out of the box, put them on, and told me she wants to get married. ” (Lorca 23) Both characters want to escape their trapped atmospheres to feed their cravings for love and desire where both of them echo each other saying, “I want to go out! ” (Lorca 39) and “let me go out, Bernarda! (Lorca 45) Both Maria Josefa and Adela wear vivacious colours as a symbol of uprising as both characters wish to escape the avid-free household as demonstrated in their similar outcries of help. This scenario is similar to Lorca’s as he himself had frustrations to break free from the oppressive government, represented by Bernarda Alba, as homosexuality was not accepted, therefore his love was also taboo, just like the characters he created in the play to represent these same emotions.Symbolism is also evident in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, where food is a means of communication between two forbidden lovers, Tita and Pedro. Esquivel uses Gertrudis, Tita’s elder sister, to symbolize the longing and passion felt by the lovers and her actions demonstrate what Tita and Pedro would do if they could.
This is especially blatant in the month of March when Tita cooks the quail in rose petal sauce, as Gertrudis falls victim to the heartfelt emotions Tita poured into the dish as she eats the meal. It was as if a strange alchemical process had dissolved her entire being in the rose petal sauce, in the tender flesh of the quails, in the wine, in every one of the meals’ aromas. ” (Esquivel 49)Esquivel uses Gertrudis to demonstrate the intense passion that Tita feels towards Pedro as a result of eating Tita’s heartfelt foods, somehow becoming a secret messenger. Gertrudis’ reactions to the quail dish resulted with her galloping off naked with a soldier named Juan in the heat of passion, demonstrating the intensive fire Tita holds for Pedro that must be oppressed. With that meal it seemed they had discovered a new system of communication in which Tita was the transmitter, Pedro the receiver, and poor Gertrudis the medium, the conducting body through which the singular sexual message was passed.
” (Esquivel 49) Food is used as a symbol of secret rebellion, just as the colours are in The House of Bernarda Alba as Tita communicates to Pedro her emotions and her sexual frustration. Gertrudis is also present to demonstrate how Tita and Pedro cannot allow their secret relationship to be public.After Gertrudis eats the quail and rose petal dish and then ardently runs away with Juan, Bernarda shuns and practically disowns her daughter, indicating that the same thing would occur if Tita and Pedro’s love became public.
This further demonstrates why Tita and Pedro’s frustrations, desires, and love must remain out of the watchful eye of Bernarda Alba. In both novels, the walls and windows of both houses act as oppressive barriers that confine and restrict the characters and their defiant relations.The houses engulfing characters such as Pedro and Tita in Like Water for Chocolate and Adela and Pepe in The House of Bernarda Alba act as barriers where any relations had to be dealt with outside the confinements of the houses. Any unruly or defiant behaviour with the opposite sex took place outside the houses, whether it be through the bars of the windows in The House of Bernarda Alba or in the storeroom in Like Water for Chocolate. “You haven’t given your daughters any freedom. Martirio’s prone to falling in love, whatever you say.Why didn’t you let her marry Enrique Humanes? Why, on the very day he was going to come to her window, did you send him a message not to come? ” (Lorca 77) The window symbolizes the girls’ relations with the opposite sex and is also a communion with the outside and a free world full of possibilities unknown to them.
In the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, Lorca uses the walls of Bernarda’s household as a symbol of her power and to keep all activity in these walls pure and respectable, while what happens outside these walls is tainted and scandalous.Before Mama Elena’s death, her “eyes were as sharp as ever and she knew what would happen if Pedro and Tita ever got the chance to be alone. ” (Esquivel 45) Mama Elena was constantly watching the two secret lovers to make sure that nothing reprehensible would happen, yet after her death, the walls of the house lost their oppressive feel. Because of this, “Pedro went to her, extinguished the lamp, pulled her to a brass bed that had once belonged to her sister Gertrudis, and throwing himself upon her, caused her to lose her irginity and learn of true love. ” (Esquivel 144) This occurs in the former “dark room” (Esquivel 144) or Mama Elena’s bathing room which is now the storeroom, symbolizing their rebellion towards Mama Elena by making love in her former private room while also using Gertrudis’ bed.
Lorca and Esquivel both use the governing females; Bernarda Alba and Mama Elena, combined with the enclosures of their houses to oppress the characters and demonstrate their aggravation as any love or sexual desires are automatically extinguished by the dominant characters.The indecent and rebellious behaviours of the characters in Like Water for Chocolate and The House of Bernarda Alba is due to the domineering rule of Mama Elena and Bernarda Alba and the domineering atmosphere they created, making the houses prison-like. The forbidden love between Tita and Pedro in Lorca’s novel, along with Adela and Maria Josefa’s wish for escape and immense passion in The House of Bernarda Alba, demonstrates emotions felt and their negative effects.Lorca’s emphasis on Tita and Pedro’s illicit love portrays a day in his life of colossal frustration and resentment as a result of his homosexuality. His homosexuality blatantly affects him as an individual as any relations that are more than platonic were to be forbidden, not only by one domineering body; the government, but by the whole of Spain.
Both authors portray the human condition due to the effects of the constrained love affairs of the characters as a result of dominating characters, the environment, and society as a whole.