In his essay “A Poet Crazy About Color,” Louis Parrot explores Lorca’s love of color and the way in which it was manifest in his poetry, tracing the evolution of color and its various symbols and associations throughout his work, including Gypsy Ballads, Poet in New York, and some of his later work. Parrot begins his essay by describing how Lorca was not only continuing a Spanish literary and artistic tradition that emphasized color, but also how he was interested in illustrating his poetry in sketches and paintings and came to see the two arts as inseparable, thanks in part to the influence of Dalí. Parrot asserts that Lorca’s gift was for “giving back colors their purest brilliance” so that they were “often truer than those we see,” and explains that how Lorca was continually influenced by the images and landscapes of his childhood and the “colors of the South” of Spain (58, 59). For Parrot, the symbolic significance of green has to do with Lorca's relationship to Granada, Fuente Vaqueros and the vega, the fertile plain that surrounded Lorca's village, helping him vividly evoke his homeland for the reader. For example, Parrot tells the reader that in Gypsy Ballads, the city is often painted with vermilions and “apple green” (58). He also suggests that the wind is typically “green-hued” in Lorca's poetry and that many of his landscapes are a “famous green” as well (59). Parrot even references a passage by Jean Camp about Lorca’s use of green when describing Granada, asking “is not green still today the sacred color of Islam, and did not Lorca wish by this device to underline the impact of [Islam?]” (59). Beyond nature and the landscape, Parrot sees the Moorish roots of Granada at the heart of Lorca's frequent use of green to recreate this world on the page.
Green and Nationalism
One of the most terrifying groups organized in September of 1936 by the Civil Government in Granada after the outbreak of Civil War was the Defense Armada de Granada, known as the mangas verdes, or green sleeves because they wore green armbands. These were not trained soldiers from the local barracks but rather those men in town who had been labeled unfit for the military who were instead recruited as spies. These men not only spied on their neighbors and reported any "suspicious activity" or those who seemed potentially threatening to the new Nationalist Movement, but they were also responsible for many innocent deaths fueled by personal vendettas and desires for revenge (Gibson 71).
Gibson, Ian. The Death of Lorca. Chicago, IL: J. Philip O’Hara, Inc. 1973. Print.
Havard, Robert G. “The Symbolic Ambivalence of ‘Green’ in García Lorca and Dylan Thomas.” JSTOR. 1972. 6/10/2010. Web.
Parrot, Louis. “A Poet Crazy About Color.” Lorca: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Manuel Duran. NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1965. Print.