The stage directions (represented here in italics) play the largest role in representing the house and delivering the situations of the characters but as an undertone, via the state of the house/setting, and the certain parts of the house which are revealed. Likewise, the introduction to the first act also embodies a large part of the symbol as the introductions to the subsequent acts will always be compared to it, in order to pinch out elements of the transition and determine what Lorca aims to portray from the transition.
I. Colour/introductions to respective acts
The diction Lorca employs successfully delivers the mood and atmosphere of the settings of all three scenes. Act I starts the text off, set in “A very white room”. The word “very” to start with connotes the sense of purity, cleanliness. In Act II the room/setting turns from “very white” into “white”, which succeeds in revealing that some of the purity has been washed away with the whiteness of the walls, and becomes only semi-pure, which stands for the situation as a whole. The second act also shows doors that lead to bedrooms, which has a slightly sexual/intimate undercurrent. These both have to do with two characters in particular: Martirio and Adela. In Act III instead of a “white room” the subjects are stuck within “four white walls”, of which are “lightly washed in blue”. Lorca employs the phrase “four walls” instead of just introducing a “room” to show a typical confinement and eventually the weariness of the place. Also, the walls are “lightly washed in blue” which connotes the sense of change in season, as though winter had been approaching. Apart from this it also sends out a shudder owing to the kinesthetic imagery employed. In addition, the doorways are “illuminated by the lights inside the rooms”. These rooms consist of all five sisters; the faint, low glow on the doorway from the lights inside the sister’s rooms would represent the underlying tones of secrecy. It also gives a “tenuous glow” to the stage. Lorca employs the word “tenuous” here so as to represent the caution of the secret of Adela seeing Pepe being let out.
The several “doors” that Lorca does mention may also even take a figurative sense. It may represent both opportunities and being trapped, in a way that either the more doors there are the more opportunities the girls might meet; or the more doors the more trapped the girls will be. Constantly the girls go in and out different doors.
Pictures of “unlikely landscapes full of nymphs or legendary kings” are introduced in Act I. This element signifies real fantasies and real hopes of being far away, which is emphasized by many characters, such as Poncia, Adela and Maria Josefa, throughout the three acts. The fact that Lorca uses the word “unlikely” to describe the pictures brings us back down to earth/reality, in which we would recognize that nymphs and legendary kings are part of myths and are most unrealistic. However, what Lorca aims to convey is simply that the outside of the house is already considered an outside world, and is simply unattainable.
III. Maria Josefa
She personifies the contradiction to the beliefs of the house. This inconsistency with the beliefs of the house of Bernarda Alba itself is represented by her physical separation from the rest of the characters and the house. The audience knows that she is locked up in special confinement but do not know where; she is not locked up in just a room–it is almost a chamber. In addition, she is first introduced as “VOICE” in the start of Act I and only “within”. The kind of introduction given to her as a character echoes its significance throughout the text. Maria Josefa is almost entirely a metaphor. She represents the true desires of the five girls, the voices in the back of their heads, the freedom that they want from the home. Like her, these hopes, even, have to be locked up and away as Bernarda Alba would hear nothing of it. Ultimately, her physical segregation from the rest of the house not only stands for itself but also the minds of the girls, which makes it an important symbol to note.
IV. Other subcomponents
Windows: the girls are only allowed to talk to boys through the windows of their bedrooms.
The patio: is where the men would gather.
almost like a voice in the back of their heads
brings us back down
I found that when Lorca uses the word “doors”, if taken in a figurative sense, may represent both opportunities, and on the other hand, being trapped. More doors = faster you are in finding a way out but in a sense more doors can also = the more trapped, there will always be a door ahead.
illuminated faint, low glow, secrets are coming to surface but are not revealed.