Societal Values of Feminine Propriety in 20th Century Spain

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Predominant Spanish culture implements harsher societal expectations upon women, inherently provoking more oppression upon women than men. Early 1900s Andalusian culture, particularly, restricted women of many civil rights: they couldn't file for divorce, get an abortion, or place a vote. As societal norms repress the female population, women are coerced into an inferior position of submission, compelling them into heavy dependence upon the male figures in their lives. Austere societal expectations, in addition, demand chastity, respectful etiquette, and obedience in women, wherein worldviews are influenced to believe that marriage is more of a contract rather than a choice made to cater to one's preferred lifestyle. In Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding, evidence of societal values implemented in Spanish culture are primarily depicted through Lorca's use of the three leading female characters, Mother, Wife and Bride. Mother upholds the traditional role of a mother, maintaining the old-fashioned image of societal normalcy in Spanish culture; Wife, as expected by cultural expectations, is entirely submissive and inferior to her husband, Leonardo; and Bride portrays the emerging new generation of free will and feminism, a stark contrast to traditional Andalusian belief.
A well-kept woman in early Andalusia is marked by her devotion to the family, elaborating particularly on her ability to provide shelter and affection. Similarly, in Mother's worldview, a woman's priorities lie with her family, and should cater to the shared family marriage is “a man and his children, and a thick stone wall to keep the rest of the world out” (51). This family-oriented outlook equates the duty of homemaking with a sense of fear, underlying Moth...

... middle of paper ... with the freedom to determine one's own decisions in life. Yet despite the various archetypes and symbols underlying the female leads in the play, the predominant motif of fate illustrates the inevitability of loss regardless of what action is taken in measures regarding the societal values. The psychological turmoil depicted in Lorca's play evokes a sympathetic response from the reader that instigates an ambiguity concerning the effect of conformity; the aftermath of the characters' fates compels the reader to question traditional roles in society and the actual effect of acting one's independence.

Works Cited

"Lorca and Andalusia." Introduction. Blood Wedding. Trans. David Johnston. London: Hodder and Stoughton Educational, 1989. 1-5. Print.

Lorca, Federico García. Blood Wedding. Trans. David Johnston. London: Hodder and Stoughton Educational, 1989. Print.
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