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There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of stories in circulation today. Miguel Cervantes though was the very first to tell a story of Don Quixote’s kind. It was not until this novel was released that the world learned what a novel was. Society went from poetry and long epics to the very first 982 page novel consisting of events and enough characters to create three separate stories of their own. It was certainly a lot to take it; Don Quixote hit the world like a ton of bricks with it’s main character being unknowingly the only one lost in a world amongst wide eyed realists and an unreliable narrator, for it may take some time to figure out who it truly is.
Don Quixote, like Samperio’s characters Guillermo Segovia and Ofelia, in “She Lived in a Story” is a character trapped in a mind. Unlike Samperio’s characters who are creations of his, the author’s mind, Quixote is the creation of Quixote. Don Quixote is characterized as an object of imagination. This, according to Manfred Jahn’s “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative” can be classified as a “dramatic characterization technique” known as figural. By definition figural is “the characterizing subject is a character.” Just that is done in the novel. The main focus of the narrative is Quixote’s impossible, one track mind that no one around him seems to be apart of yet his insanity leaves him blind to that. His alienation from reality is what classifies him as insane, hence “the subject is the character”.
The novel basically begins with this subject due to Don Quixote’s behavior and speech. He literally lives in a modern society surrounded by humble means and people. Despite his average locality his entity was in chivalric novels in which he lost all sense of responsibility as well as his grasp on reality. “Enchantments, fights, battles, challenges, wounds…” were absorbed in his mind. By dusting off the armour of his forefathers and placing it on his body before setting out on the adventures he felt he owed to the knights he read of and idolized, Quixote is auto characterizing himself. There is no stride to convince others of his passions or a desire to make people understand. It is without any cause besides his devotion to knight errantry that he decides to “travel about the world with his armour and his arms and his horse in search of adventures, and to practice all those activities that he knew from his books were practiced by knights errant…” . Auto characterization is “usually unintentional”. This relates directly to Quxiote’s mentality for he does not purposely try to deceive people. He has a distorted outlook on society and wishes to live within the period of knights in shining armour. His verbal and physical behavior give way for a critical analysis on this subject, again it is not intentionally or purposely being made up, as if it were a charade. Don Quixote is lost in the realms of the passion that lives in his heart and mind.
There are times when people around him, such as the foil character, Sancho Panza attempt to correct his delusions (“what giants” VIII pg. 63). It simply adds fuel to his fire. Quixote regards any sort of realistic outlook as a product of enchantment or in the case of the giants, he considers Sancho to be afraid. Don Quixote maintains his stance and ironically there is some stability to his insanity. According to Jahn’s theory in which he refers to E.M. Froster’s distinction of “flat and round characters”, this would make Quixote a flat character. There is no change in pace or change in behavior. Quixote remains unmotivated by anything unless it possesses the will to test his strength as a knight, on a quest to “right the wrong”.
Jahn, Manfred. 2005. Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative. English Department, University of Cologne
Don Quixote (Penguin Classics) : Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, John Rutherford, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria: Books.