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Don Quixote Jr.?

Posted by RachelE on 15th June 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3uxOjWf9LA

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Who’s Yo Daddy? – Blog #5

Posted by RachelE on 14th June 2011

In the prologue of Don Quixote of La Mancha, the author Miguel de Cervantes explains to the reader that:

[…] If a father should happen to sire an ugly and ill-favored child, the love he bears it claps a bandage over his eyes and so blinds him to its faults that he reckons them as talents and graces and cites them to his friends as examples of wit and elegance. But I, who appear to be Don Quixote‘s father, am in reality his stepfather and do not intend to follow the usual custom, nor to beg you, almost with tears in my eyes, as others do, dearest reader, to pardon or dissemble the faults you may see in this child of mine. (Cervantes 41)

This quote is Cervantes’ warning to the reader. While many authors see their novels as flawless works of perfection containing ideas that cannot be disputed, Cervantes feels differently. He knows his work is imperfect. One can even say Cervantes desires the reader to critique his work and find faults with it. Cervantes refuses to call himself the father of Don Quixote, and rather, seems to feel more like a stepfather. Even Cervantes himself can see the imperfections and impending criticisms of his work. But that’s the beauty of a work of literature. What keeps a text alive is the constant questioning, examining, and critiquing done by readers of a certain novel, story, or poem. In my opinion, Cervantes knows this secret. He doesn’t want people to take his book at face value and accept it as it is. If the readers do so, Cervantes’ work would be read but eventually forgotten. By begging the readers to find faults in his work, Cervantes is creating a timeless yet flawed masterpiece that will stay alive for years. What will keep Don Quixote alive is the differing opinions on the meanings of the story by readers over generations and their continuous critiques of the text. Cervantes request to the reader is to never stop looking for flaws in Don Quixote; and this is the request that will keep his story alive.

(different version)

De Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote of La Mancha. New York: Signet Classic, 1964. Print.

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What Say Have You in the Matter? – Blog #4

Posted by RachelE on 14th June 2011

“Narrative theorists often use the oppositional pair overtness and covertness to characterize a narrative voice” (Jahn N1.9).  Overt narrators have a distinctive voice in the story, while covert narrators have a largely indistinct voice (Jahn N1.9). In Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, the narrator begins the story with a description of a certain character who has an obsession with fictional books of knight-errantry. In the description, the narrator mentions that the character’s “imagination became filled with a host of fancies he had read in his books-enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, courtships, loves, tortures, and many other absurdities” (Cervantes 58). From this quote, one can conclude that the narrator of the story is an overt narrator. At the end of the list in the quote, the narrator uses the words “many other absurdities” (Cervantes 58). This leads the reader to assume that the narrator believes the previous “fancies” (Cervantes 58) listed were absurd as well. The narrator is inserting his or her own opinion into the description of the character. The character himself does not believe the “fancies” (Cervantes 58) to be absurd; the narrator does. If a covert narrator were to give this description, he or she could not insert an opinion in the text because the voice of a covert narrator must be inconspicuous (Jahn N1.9). However, this narrator feels free to provide the reader with an opinion about the character, making the voice that of an overt narrator. The reader feels as though he or she is listening to the voice of another character in the story because of the opinionated nature of the narrator. The fact that the narrator makes the reader aware that there is in fact a narrator telling the story, one may use overtness to characterize the narrative voice.

(different version)

De Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote of La Mancha. New York: Signet Classic, 1964. Print.

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The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth – Blog #3

Posted by RachelE on 14th June 2011

In the first chapter of Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, the narrator tells the readers that the name of the protagonist is not known for certain, “for on this point the authors who have written on this subject differ” (Cervantes 57). However, the narrator then reassures the readers that this difference of opinion “has very little to do with our story; enough that in its telling we swerve not a jot from the truth” (Cervantes 57). This statement leaves readers such as myself a bit confused. How is it possible to be completely truthful in the telling of a story while being unsure of the true name of the story’s protagonist? We are given a hint to deciphering this ambiguous statement when later on in the story, the narrator is describing the protagonist’s obsession with books of knight-errantry and explains that, “so true did all this phantasmagoria from books appear to him that in his mind he accounted no history in the world more authentic” (Cervantes 58). We see from this quote that the protagonist believed all the things he read in fictional books about knight-errantry to be true. In a sense, he created a new truth for himself; a new authentic history. If one were to ask him whether or not what he read was true, he would confidently answer yes because he truly believes that what he reads is the truth. The same can be said for the narrator. The narrator is telling a story that has many versions, but the narrator believes wholeheartedly that his version is the absolute truth. Just like the protagonist believes that what he knows of the world, which consists mostly of the fiction in the books, is the complete truth, so too the narrator believes that his version of the tale is the definite truth and can confidently tell the readers that he will not swerve “a jot from the truth” (Cervantes 57). His truth is the only truth he knows. 

(different version)

De Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote of La Mancha. New York: Signet Classic, 1964. Print.

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Always Check Your Blind Spot – Blog #2

Posted by RachelE on 12th June 2011

It was a warm, sunny Monday morning, and as usual, I was forcing myself to get out of bed for school. I must admit, I wasn’t getting up at the crack of dawn; yet, being summertime, 11 o’clock a.m. felt like dawn. I lethargically got dressed, took one look in the mirror and realized it was as good as it was ever going to get, and hurried downstairs before I gave in and climbed back into bed. I skipped breakfast, which was the normal routine in the mornings, grabbed a juicebox and left the house. I live about 10 minutes from the Long Island Expressway and the drive to the highway was uneventful this specific morning. I began to hope that the rest of my day would go as smoothly as my drive to the highway. Things started to get even better when I entered the highway and saw the traffic was moving well and it wouldn’t take me long to get to school. I breathed a sigh of relief and turned on my left turn signal, changing lanes until I was driving in the fastest lane, closest to the divider on the highway. I was really enjoying this drive and I even started humming along to the songs I didn’t like on the radio. While changing stations on the radio looking for one I could stand, I noticed a car gaining speed in the lane to my right. The car didn’t seem threatening so I didn’t pay closer attention to it as it caught up to me. Apparently, the car was trying to get into my lane but couldn’t because of me. The car sped up until it was ahead of me, but it was still in the second lane. Looking back, I assume I ended up in the car’s blind spot because without warning, the car swerved into my lane. I honked multiple times but it was too late. The only way to avoid crashing was to turn away from the car and into the highway divider. I turned my steering wheel to the left and waited for my car to hit the divider. And yet, at the last second, the car next to mine realized what was happening and turned back into its own lane. I sharply turned my steering wheel the other way and narrowly missed the divider. My heart was pounding and I was sweating profusely. To this day, I still shudder when I remember the time I almost died.

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Segovia vs Dramatists – Blog #1

Posted by RachelE on 6th June 2011

Both narrators and characters in a story can be ontologically distant. Ontologically distant means the narrator or character belongs to a different , fictional world; one that is invented, imaginary, not real. In the case of ontologically distant characters, the characters are fictional and imagined and distant from the readers or addressees (Jahn N1.6). According to Guillermo Segovia in “She Lived in a Story” by Guillermo Samperio:

 In one way or another actors live in the text. They live the part they were given to play and they also live the text; they do not embody anyone at all. In the theater they live in literature for a brief moment. In motion pictures, some of their moments endure with a tendency toward the infinite. Dramatists have written plays in an attempt to approach the ancient dream of the fiction writer: that human beings live in their texts. Thus, artistic creation transcends the imaginary level in order to achieve reality. In regard to my own concept, the movement is reversed; that is, reality moves toward the imaginary. (Samperio 56)

In this quote, Guillermo Segovia is attempting to explain to the readers the difference between what he is trying to do and what dramatists and actors attempt to do. Through this explanation, the readers get a sense of the concepts of imaginary and reality through the mind of Segovia and his attempts to create ontologically distant characters. According to Segovia, actors bring a text to life. They take words on a paper or a script and make them a reality, which is the opposite of an ontologically distant character. The words on the paper are nothing but imagination until the actor puts meaning into them and makes them a reality. Playwrights and dramatists attempt to take their imaginary ideas and make them a reality by bringing them to life using a stage or in a movie with actors. However, Segovia is trying to do the opposite. He wants to take the reality he knows and change it into imagination by putting it on paper. He wants to create something ontologically distant out of the reality that he knows. When actors play a part, they are taking an imaginary and ontologically distant role, person, and character and making the combination into a real person. Segovia, on the other hand, is taking characteristics from people he knows in reality and combining the elements into the imaginary and ontologically distant female character of Ofelia.

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