Garcia Lorca WebQuest

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Your job will be going through 6 different activities about Lorca and his 
Poetry. There are 4 different roles.

Individually, each member of the group must investigate about Lorca and 
answer the questions below. You will find the information in the sites 
indicated in your Role part.

a) Lorca was a poet and dramatist but, in which other arts was he involved?

b) Where and when he was born?

c) He was a member of Generation of 27. Could you name some other authors of 
this Generation?

d) Write 5 common characteristics of Generation of 27.

e) What is the name and date of publication of his first collection of poems?

f) In 1919 Lorca moved to the "Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid" where he 
met other famous artists that influenced his career. Who were they?

g) Name and date his first play. What is it about?

h) When and why Lorca moved to New York?

i) Lorca was appointed Director of the Student theatre company "La Barraca" 
in 1931 when he returned to Spain. Then he wrote his best-known plays. Write 
the name and date of publication.

j) What’s the story of "Bodas de Sangre"?

k) Which themes explore the play "La Casa de Bernarda Alba?

l) Make a list of Lorca´s major works of poetry.

m) How and when was he murdered?

The life of Lorca has been divided in four parts. Each member of the group 
will have to work in a different part.

Role 1
Lorca´s Early Life and Works (till 1924). Write a page summary of 
Lorca´s life, works and historical context in this particular period. You 
will find the information in Role 1 sites.

Role 2
Gypsy Ballads (1924-1927). Write a page summary of Lorca´s life, 
works and historical context in this particular period. You will find the 
information in Role 2 sites.

Role 3
The Poet in New York and Cuba (from 1927 to 1930). Write a page 
summary of Lorca´s life, works and historical context in this particular 
period. You will find the information in Role 3 sites.

Role 4
Return to Spain and the Poet’s Death (1930-1936). Write a page 
summary of Lorca´s life, works and historical context in this particular 
period. You will find the information in Role 4 sites.

Read the following short poems and make a commentary. There are 4 poems, 
each member of the group may choose one of them and analyse it individually. 
In order to do this:

1.- Choose one of the poems, read it and check the word meanings in the 
Oxford dictionary link.

2.- Read and study the Process and Elements of analysis

3.- Answer the checklist.


Poem 1
Song of the Boy with Seven Hearts

Seven hearts
I hold.
But mine does not encounter them.

In the high mountains, mother,
the wind and I ran into each other.
Seven young girls with long fingers
carried me on their mirrors.

I have sung through the world
with my mouth of seven petals.
My galleys of amaranth
have gone without ropes or oars.

I have lived in the lands
of others, My secrets
round my throat,
without my realising it, were open!

In the high mountains, mother,
(my heart above the echoes
in the album of a star)
the wind and I ran into each other.

Seven hearts
I hold.
But mine does not encounter them.

Poem 2
Little Song of Seville

    At the dawn of day
in the orange grove.
Little bees of gold
searching for honey.

    Where is the honey

    It’s in the flower of blue,
In the flower
there, of rosemary. 

   (A little gold chair
for the Moor.
A tinsel chair
for his spouse.)

    At the dawn of day
in the orange grove.
Poem 3

little lover.
In your house they’re burning thyme.

Whether you’re going, whether you’re coming,
I will lock the door with a key.

With a key of pure silver.
Tied up with a ribbon.

On the ribbon there’s a message:
My heart is far away. 

Don’t pace up and down my street.
All that’s allowed there is the wind!

little lover.
In your house they’re burning thyme.

Poem 4

That which travels
clouds itself.

The running water
can see no stars.

That which travels
forgets itself.

And that which halts itself


1.	Look at the title 

2.	Read the poem for the major indicators of its meaning -- what 
aspects of setting, of topic, of voice (the person who is speaking) seem to 
dominate, to direct your reading? 

3.	Read the ending of the poem -- decide where it 'gets to' 

4.	Divide the poem into parts: try to understand what the organization 
is, how the poem proceeds, and what elements or principles guide this 
organization (is there a reversal, a climax, a sequence of some kind, sets 
of oppositions?) 

5.	Pay attention to the tone of the poem -- in brief, its attitude to 
its subject, as that is revealed in intonation, nuance, the kind of words 
used, and so forth. 

6.	Now that you've looked at the title, the major indicators 
of 'topic', the ending, the organization, the tone, read the poem out loud, 
trying to project its meaning in your reading. As you gradually get a sense 
of how this poem is going, what its point and drift is, start noticing more 
about how the various elements of the poetry work to create its meaning. 
This may be as different as the kind of imagery used, or the way it uses 
oppositions, or the level of realism or symbolism of its use of the natural 


Here then are some questions to apply to your analysis in order to see how 
the poem is making its meaning. They cover 

1. What is the genre, or form, of the poem? 
Is it a sonnet, an elegy, a lyric, a narrative, a dramatic monologue, an 
epistle, an epic (there are many more). Different forms or genres have 
different subjects, aims, conventions and attributes. A love sonnet, for 
instance, is going to talk about different aspects of human experience in 
different ways with different emphases than is a political satire, and our 
recognition of these attributes of form or genre is part of the meaning of 
the poem. 

2. Who is speaking in the poem?
Please remember that if the voice of the poem says "I", that doesn't mean it 
is the author who is speaking: it is a voice in the poem which speaks. The 
voice can be undramatized (it's just a voice, it doesn't identify itself), 
or dramatized (the voice says "I", or the voice is clearly that of a 
particular persona, a dramatized character). 
Identify the voice. What does the voice have to do with what is happening in 
the poem, what is its attitude, what is the tone of the voice (tone can be 
viewed as an expression of attitude). How involved in the action or 
reflection of the poem is the voice? What is the perspective or 'point of 
view' of the speaker? The perspective can be social, intellectual, 
political, even physical -- there are many different perspectives, but they 
all contribute to the voice's point of view, which point of view affects how 
the world of the poem is seen, and how we respond. 

3. What is the argument, thesis, or subject of the poem?
What, that is to say, is it apparently 'about'? Start with the basic 
situation, and move to consider any key statements; any obvious or less 
obvious conflicts, tensions, ambiguities; key relationships, especially 
conflicts, parallels, contrasts; any climaxes or problems posed or solved 
(or not solved); the poem's tone; the historical, social, and emotional 

4. What is the structure of the poem?
There are two basic kinds of structure, formal and thematic. 
Formal structure is the way the poem goes together in terms of its component 
parts: if there are parts -- stanzas, paragraphs or such -- then there will 
be a relation between the parts (for instance the first stanza may give the 
past, the second the present, the third the future). Thematic structure, 
known in respect to fiction as 'plot', is the way the argument or 
presentation of the material of the poem is developed. For instance a poem 
might state a problem in eight lines, an answer to the problem in the next 
six; of the eight lines stating the problem, four might provide a concrete 
example, four a reflection on what the example implies. 

5. How does the poem make use of setting?
There is the setting in terms of time and place, and there is the setting in 
terms of the physical world described in the poem. 
In terms of the physical world of the poem, setting can be used for a 
variety of purposes. A tree might be described in specific detail, a 
concrete, specific, tree; or it might be used in a more tonal way, to create 
mood or associations.

6. How does the poem use imagery?
"Imagery" refers to any sort of image, and there are two basic kinds. One is 
the images of the physical setting, described above. The other kind is 
images as figures of speech, such as metaphors. These figures of speech 
extend the imaginative range, the complexity and comprehensibility of the 
subject. They can be very brief, a word or two.

7. Are there key statements or conflicts in the poem that appear to be 
central to its meaning?
Is the poem direct or indirect in making its meanings? If there are no key 
statements, are there key or central symbol, repetitions, actions, motifs 
(recurring images), or the like? 

8. How does the sound of the poetry contribute to its meaning?
Pope remarked that "the sound must seem an echo to the sense": both the 
rhythm and the sound of the words themselves (individually and as they fit 
together) contribute to the meaning. 

9. Examine the use of language. 
What kinds of words are used? How much and to what ends does the poet rely 
on connotation, or the associations that words have (as "stallion" connotes 
a certain kind of horse with certain sorts of uses)? Does the poem use puns, 
double meanings, ambiguities of meaning? 

10. What qualities does the poem evoke in the reader?
What sorts of learning, experience, taste and interest would the 'ideal' 
or 'good' reader of this poem have? What can this tell you about what the 
poem 'means' or is about? The idea is that any work of art calls forth 
certain qualities of response, taste, experience, value, from the reader,and 
in a sense 'forms' the reader of that particular work. This happens through 
the subject matter, the style, the way the story is told or the scene set, 
the language, the images, the allusions, all the ways in which we are called 
by the text to construct meaning. 

11. What is your historical and cultural distance from the poem?
What can you say about the difference between your culture's (and sub-
culture's) views of the world, your own experiences, on the one hand, and 
those of the voice, characters, and world of the poem on the other? What is 
it that you might have to understand better in order to experience the poem 
the way someone of the same time, class, gender and race might have 
understood it? Is it possible that your reading might be different from 
theirs because of your particular social (race, gender, class, etc.) and 
historical context? What about your world governs the way you see the world 
of the text? What might this work tell us about the world of its making? 

12. What are the world-view and the ideology of the poem? 
What are the basic ideas about the world that are expressed? What areas of 
human experience are seen as important, and what is valuable about them? 
What areas of human experience or classes of person are ignored or 
denigrated? A poem about love, for instance, might implicitly or explicitly 
suggest that individual happiness is the most important thing in the world, 
and that it can be gained principally through one intimate sexually-based 
relationship -- to the exclusion, say, of problems of social or political 
injustice, human brokenness and pain, or other demands on us as humans. 

Discuss within your group LORCA´s poems: Ballad of the Moon, Fare Well, 
Ditty of First Desire, Sonnet of the Sweet Complain and The little Mute Boy. 

- Read these poems of Lorca and find the meaning of the words in CAPITALS. 
Use the 
dictionary link.

- Talk to your group about the theme and content of each of them.

- Choose one of them (a different poem for each member of the group) and 
write a short paragraph (no more than 7 lines) summarizing what you have 
discussed. Each paragraph must have al least four ideas, one from each 


Ballad of the Moon

translated by Will Kirkland

The moon came into the FORGE
in her BUSTLEof flowering nard.
The little boy stares at her, STARES.
The boy is staring hard.
In the shaken air
the moon moves her arms,
and shows lubricious and pure,
her breasts of hard tin.
"Moon, moon, moon, run!
If the gypsies come,
they will use your heart
to make white necklaces and rings."
"Let me dance, my little one.
When the gypsies come,
they'll find you on the anvil
with your lively eyes closed tight.
"Moon, moon, moon, run!
I can feelheir horses come."
"Let me be, my little one,
STARCHED and white!"

Closer comes the the horseman,
DRUMMING on the plain.
The boy is in the forge;
his eyes are closed.
Through the olive grove
come the gypsies, dream and bronze,
their heads held high,
their hooded eyes.

Oh, how the night OWL calls,
calling, calling from its tree!
The moon is climbing through the sky
with the child by the hand.

They are crying in the forge,
all the gypsies, shouting, crying.
The air is viewing all, views all.
The air is at the viewing. 

Federico Garcia Lorca


Fare Well

If I die,
leave the balcony open.

The little boy is eating oranges.
(From my balcony I can see him.)

The reaper is HARVESTING the WHEAT.
(From my balcony I can hear him.)

If I die,
leave the balcony open! 

Federico Garcia Lorca

3. DESIRES (I´d like to be)

DDITTY of First Desire

In the green morning
I wanted to be a heart.
A heart.

And in the ripe evening
I wanted to be a NIGHTINGALE.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love.)

In the vivid morning
I wanted to be MYSELF.
A heart.

And at the evening's end
I wanted to be my voice.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love. 

Federico Garcia Lorca


Sonnet of the Sweet COMPLAINT.

Never let me lose the MARVEL
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent 
the solitary rose of your BREATH
places on my CHEEK at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore, 
a branchless TRUNK, and what I most regret 
is having no flower, pulp, or CLAY for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure, 
if you are my cross, my DAMPENED pain, 
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained, 
and adorn the branches of your river 
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.


The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The King of the CRICKETS had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;
I will make a ring of it
so that he may wear my silence
on his little finger.

In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice, far away.
Put on a cricket' clothes.) 

Federico Garcia Lorca

Now you are going to investigate some poetry imagery.

Student 1 Similes
- Create a simile by filling in the blank. Try to appeal to each of the 
senses at least once. Remember to compare two unlike things.
Example: Susie was as slow as a snail

As ________________as _______________
As ________________as _______________
As ________________as _______________
As ________________as _______________
As ________________as _______________

- Write 5 examples of similes in the Lorca´s poems you have read before. You 
should also write the title of the poem.

Student 2 Metaphors
- Create 5 metaphors by comparing two unlike items.
Example: The football player is an ox.
- Find 5 examples of metaphors in the Lorca´s poems you have read before. 
You should write the title of the poem.

Student 3   Alliteration and Assonance
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds. Alliteration in 
poetry is pleasing to the ear and emphasizes the words in which it occurs. 
                  And sings a solitary song 
                  That whistles in the wind. 

- Write a short serious poem using alliteration.

If too much alliteration is used, we get a ridiculous sound, as in a tongue 
twister. Example: 

    Stuart Stevens rode astride his stallion down the sandy seashore. 
    Seeing surfers, sailors, sun bathers, and swimmers, he stopped. 
    Stuart stood and stared at the scene. 

At sometime or another, all of us have stumbled over tongue twisters - 
those tricky combinations of words that are very difficult to say.

Student 4 Personification
Personification – gives human traits such as emotions, intelligence, 
personality, or shape to inanimate objects, animals, or ideas 

Personify – to show as a human being 

Inanimate – not having life 

- Write 5 examples of personification

- Find 5 examples of personification in the Lorca´s poems you have read 
before. You should write the title of the poem.

Write your own poem. IMAGINE!

You will go through the following steps:

1. You imagine yourself someplace -- the beach, a mountain 
top, a city street -- anywhere.

2. Write two lines beginning with the words "I see", and then 
state what they see. (ex: I see traffic lights; I see taxis")

3. Then write two lines beginning with "I hear" (I hear sirens; I hear 
engines); then two lines beginning "I smell".
Cover each of the five senses this way.

4. The last line should begin "I feel ...", and state how the scene makes 
them feel. ("I feel lonely and afraid")

5. You now have an eleven line poem. Return to each line, delete the "I 
see"s, the "I hear"s, etc. Add adjectives and adverbs.

6. Return to each line. Add similes and metaphors.

7. Return to each line. Add personification.

8. Add rhyme and meter. Add alliteration and assonance. 

- Include an illustration that reflects the content of your poem. Lorca used 
to illustrate his poems.

- Rehearse reading it aloud along with your group and in the classroom.

-  By all means, post the poems of your group on the class´s wall.

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Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009
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