Have you had the audacity to put powder on your face

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“Have you had the audacity to put powder on your face? Have you had the audacity even to wash your face on the day of your father’s funeral?” (Lorca 135). Again Bernarda is more concerned about “looks” than her husband’s death. Most people would put little effort into their looks after the loss of a family member, but not Bernarda. Not only does Bernarda obsess over how others will view her house, but she is also consumed by the idea that the people of the village will talk about her family. She ignores the struggles her daughters are going through because her acknowledgement of them would make it appear that she is unable to control her household. “But there’s nothing going on here. It’s only what you’d like to see! And, if something did go on here one day, you can be sure it wouldn’t be known outside these four walls” (Lorca 152). Bernarda is ignoring the fact that there is obviously a scandal in her house. If she refuses to acknowledge it cannot be immediately proven. Bernarda’s desire to avoid being gossiped about, for having three daughters in love with the same man, ultimately lead to the death of her daughter. 4
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Bernarda believes that she has complete control of everything that takes place in her household; however, she is extremely ignorant to or simply refuses to acknowledge that this is not true. “For Bernarda, the house and her daughters’ seclusion within it represent and ideal way of life: she cannot conceive of an alternative routine, and dismisses scornfully other modes of existence that would be in her view demeaning to her supposed station” (Morris) Her failure to accept an alternate way of life hinders her family from being happy. Bernarda believes she is running the ideal household, which is contrary to what is actually happening. The house is simply that, a building, not a home like one would desire. As Bernarda attempts to keep her house clean cut and perfect, she fails to notice the problems within her family. Her desire to avoid gossip rips her family apart. If Bernarda did not obsess over gossip her life, and the lives of those around her would be exponentially better. She allows the people of the village to break her family apart. Rather than acknowledge her problems, they are ignored and can no longer be avoided. Poncia was also very involved in the gossip within the household; however, she used it in an attempt to save the family. She was very aware that many of the daughters were in love with Pepe and that Bernarda needed to acknowledge this and resolve it. Had Bernarda been more concerned for her family she may have saved her daughter’s life. “She, the youngest daughter of Bernarda Alba, died a virgin. Do you hear me? Quiet, quiet, I said. Quiet!” (Lorca 172). This blatant lie is Bernarda’s last attempt to save herself from the judgment of those around her. She is more concerned with how people will perceive her daughter’s death than the fact that she is gone forever. 5
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Although throughout the majority of the play Bernarda is unable to ignore her obsession with gossip she does make a mistake. “The gun! Where’s the gun?” (Lorca 170). By shooting at Pepe el Romano, Bernarda is subjecting herself to extreme amounts of gossip. This moment of weakness shows some ounce of passion that she truly has for her family. Bernarda understands that because of Pepe her family is being destroyed. Her
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