Posted by RachelE on June 20, 2011
Story-telling can occur on many different levels. A matrix narrative is a narrative containing a hyponarrative, or a story within a story (Jahn N2.4.1). A first-degree narrative is a narrative that is not embedded in any other narrative; essentially, this is the original narrative itself (Jahn N2.4.2). A second-degree narrative is the narrative that is embedded in a first-degree narrative; the story that’s within the first story (Jahn N2.4.2). Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes can be seen as a matrix narrative containing a second-degree narrative. The narrator begins the story by introducing the protagonist, Don Quixote, and later on, his squire, Sancho Panza. The readers are told of more than one adventure had by the knight-errant Don Quixote and his squire, but at one point in the story, the “pleasant history stopped and was left unfinished without [the] author giving a hint where to find the missing part” (Cervantes 106). The narrator then takes over the story and begins another story: the tale of finding the missing part of the history of Don Quixote. The hyponarrative begins with the introductory sentence, “the discovery happened in the following manner…” (Cervantes 107). The narrator then goes on to tell the readers about the journey to discover and obtain the continuation for the story. This tale becomes the second-degree narrative within the original text of Don Quixote of La Mancha, making Don Quixote of La Mancha a matrix narrative.
De Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote of La Mancha. Trans. Walter Starkie. New York: Signet Classic, 1964. Print.