Archive for September, 2011

Sep 28 2011

Post 13: Imagery

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We shall wander through the mountains, woods, and meadows, singing here, lamenting there, drinking of the liquid crystals of the spring, or the limpid brooks, or the swelling rivers. The oaks shall give us of their sweetest fruit with bountiful hand; the trunk of the hard cork trees shall offer us seats; the willows, shade; the roses, perfume; the spacious meadows, carpets embellished with a thousand colors; the air, clear and pure, shall supply us breath; the moon and the stars, light, in spite of the darkness of night; song shall give us delight, and tears, gladness; Apollo, verses and love conceits whereby we shall be able to win eternal fame, not only in the present age but also in those to come. (Don Quixote)

 

This passage occurs near the end of the novel when Quixote, resolving to become a shepherd for a year, tells Sancho of the life they will lead. Cervantes uses great imagery here to convey what Don Quixote dreams about. He uses many metaphors to convey nature and happiness.

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Sep 28 2011

Post 12: Translating

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It seems to me that translating from one language into another, except from those queens of languages, Greek and Latin, is like viewing Flemish tapestries from the wrong side, when, although one can make out the figures, they are covered by threads that obscure them, and one cannot appreciate the smooth finish of the right side. (Don Quixote, Part II, Chapter LXII)

It seems like many literary scholars make a big deal about this novel perhaps losing some of its value through translation. A reason for this could be that many words and phrases in Spanish do not have the equivalent counterpart in English. These change of words may imply different ideas that ultimately alter the story of Don Quixote. Another reason translation may not be as accurate is do to the fact that during the time of translation, resources were limited and the few dictionaries there were, may have been incorrect. It is important to understand and accept that this translated novel is slightly altered in meaning and in order to truly study this masterpiece, it must be done so in Spanish.

 

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Sep 28 2011

Post 11: Humor

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“Then he lifted up his shirt as best as he could, and thrust two ample buttocks into the night air.  Once he’d done this, which he’d thought was all he needed to do to escape from his harrowing predicament, he found himself in another even worse plight: he thought that he wasn’t going to be able to relieve himself in silence, and he began to grit his teeth and hunch his shoulders and hold his breath for as long as he could, but in spite of all these precautions he was unfortunate enough, in the end, to make a small noise, quite different from the noise causing him such great fear.” (Cervantes 160)

Sancho humanizes the story through humor and compassion. I found this scence to be hilarious.

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Sep 26 2011

Post 6: Parody

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Don Quixote is a parody of the romances of Cervantes’s time. Do the characters who mock and try to humiliate Don Quixote come across in a positive or a negative light?

“I shall never be fool enough to turn knight-errant. For I see quite well that it’s not the fashion now to do as they did in the olden days when they say those famous knights roamed the world.”

In Don Quixote, the innkeeper responds to the priest, who has been trying to convince him that books of chivalry are not true. He sort of quietly mocks Don Quixote because he realizes that knight-errantry is outdated but secretly admires it. In this article, a great example of parody is given with Austin powers.

 

 

 

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Sep 26 2011

Post 5: Social Class

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Great hearts, my dear master, should be patient in misfortune as well as joyful in prosperity. And this I judge from myself. For if I was merry when I was Governor now that I’m a squire on foot I’m not sad, for I’ve heard tell that Fortune, as they call her, is a drunken and capricious woman and, worse still, blind; and so she doesn’t see what she’s doing, and doesn’t know whom she is casting down or raising up.

Throughout the entire narrative of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, we see the difference between social classes. Although it is widely recognized that Don Quixote is the master and Sancho is the servant, in this quote we see the reversal in roles. Although he is an uneducated peasant, Sancho shows the humbleness and bourgeois class he can be.

Works Cited

de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel. The Ingenious
Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
. 1605. Trans. John Rutherford. Columbus, MT: Penguin, 2003. Print.

 

 

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Sep 26 2011

Post 4: The breaking down of Episodes

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Both Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story” and Cervantes’ Don Quixote have essentially the same story but a different discourse.

  •             episode A group of action units consisting of three parts: an exposition, a complication, and a resolution (Kintsch 1976). Hence a story can be described both as a sequence of action units (as above) and as a sequence of episodes.

This definition of episodes nicely dovetails with two graphic models of narrative trajectories that have become famous: Freytag’s 1863 (!) ‘triangle’ and Bremond’s 1970 ‘four-phase cycle’. Freytag’s triangle originally describes the action and suspense structure of classical five-act tragedy; Bremond’s model originally aims at the system of possible state changes in French folk tales. Obviously, however, both models have a far more general relevance.

 

Regarding his corpus of fairy tales, Bremond adds that “the cycle starts from a state of deficiency or a satisfactory state” and “ends usually with the establishment of a satisfactory state” (1970: 251), i.e., the “they lived happily ever after” formula. For a more detailed account of Freytag’s model look up D7.5; for the present, however, Barth’s explication is quite sufficient:

AB represents the exposition, B the introduction of conflict, BC the ‘rising action’, complication, or development of the conflict, C the climax, or turn of the action, CD the denouement, or resolution of the conflict. While there is no reason to regard this pattern as an absolute necessity, like many other conventions it became conventional because great numbers of people over many years learned by trial and error that it was effective […]. (Barth 1968: 99)

N4.5. Story grammars. Various attempts have been made to devise story grammars along the lines of Chomskyan generative grammar. Some of these grammars are still used or referred to today, especially in the context of folklore studies, empirical analysis (Stein 1982), cognitive studies and Artificial Intelligence (Ryan 1991). See also van Dijk (1972), Prince (1973), Rumelhart (1975), Mandler and Johnson (1977), Pavel (1985).

N4.6. Exercise. Using the definition of ‘episode’ listed above as well as the two narrative progress models (Bremond and Freytag), show that the following (proto-)stories are likely to have a relatively high degree of tellability.

  • Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl. (Benson’s law of romantic comedy, cp. D7.9)

Both narratives follow whats called The Hero’s Journey.

In Samperio’s narrative, Segovia sets off on a adventure to write a story and follow all the aspects of these graph. The same is true for Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Almost every story is the same what is important and what makes it different is how it is told.

Works Cited

Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 27 June 2011. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>.

 

 

 

 

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Sep 26 2011

Post 3: Characters questioning reality

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Guillermo Samperio’s She Lived in a Story plays with the characters consciousness and awareness.

When she turned into the alley where her house was, she could feel the enormous eye on her hair, her face, her scarf, her sweater, her slacks. She stopped and felt a kind of dizziness similar to what you experience in a dream where you float unsupported and without any way of coming down… I’m afraid I can’t stop living in two worlds (Samperio p59-60).

This is an example of the stream of consciousness from Jahn’s narratology. I find it fascinating when the characharte realizes they are a part of something else rather then a constant flow of discourse. This “something else” they do not know or cannot explain, but this uncertainty and ambiguity lingers within their consciousness and they begin to question life and reality. Is this a dream? Am I real? A notable Hollywood movie that consisted in having two worlds is The Matrix. In this movie the main character struggles to identify with the world he is living in. He feels there is something bizarre going on and in this particular scene, he is being explained the difference between the real world and virtual world, which understandable; he has a difficult time accepting this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KlJzfsAzoY&feature=related

 

 

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Sep 26 2011

Post 2: Discourse vs. Story Time

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Manfred Jahn’s Narratology elucidates the distinction between time it requires to read a narrative and the time that elapses within the narrative. Jahn states, “In order to assess a narrative passage’s speed or tempo, one compares story time and discourse time”.

            As Don Quixote descended he kept shouting to them let out the rope and more rope, and they did so little by little, and when the shouts, coming out of the cave as if through a pipe, could no longer be heard, they had paid out the full two hundred yards, and thought that they have better pull Don Quixote up again, since there was no more rope to let down. But they waited for about half an hour, at the end of which they began to pull the rope with great ease because there wasn’t any weight on it, which made them suppose that Don Quixote had remained down below, and in this belief Sancho wept bitter tears and pulled the rope in at speed to learn the truth; but at a depth of what they calculated to be about a hundred yards they felt a weight, to their great joy. Eventually, at about twenty yards, they could clearly see Don Quixote, and Sancho called out to him: ‘Welcome back, sir, we thought you were staying down there for keeps.’

The select use of diction plays major function in determining discourse time and story time. In this short passage, the narrator claims half an hour passes. Points like letting a rope down 200 yards and the sound of noise through a pipe, a reader can imagine that the greater the distance it takes to reach a certain goal or the more echoed a sound becomes, the more time passes by. We see the transition of time here in the last sentence. Dialogue in narratives is a prime example of discourse time. The same duration it would take to read a conversation between characters would be the same duration needed to actually hear/speak it.

 

Works Cited

Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 27 June 2011. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>.

de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel. The Ingenious
Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
. 1605. Trans. John Rutherford. Columbus, MT: Penguin, 2003. Print.

 

 

 

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Sep 25 2011

Post 1: Jahn’s four main forms or patterns of focalization

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Post 1: Jahn’s four main forms or patterns of focalization

Manfred Jahn’s Narratology asses the scheme of focalization. The point of view of a story is an essential element  that determines the mood of a narrative as well as the induced feelings a reader will have towards certain characters. Jahn asserts there are four main forms or patterns of focalization:

  • fixed focalization The presentation of narrative facts and events from the constant point of view of a single focalizer. The standard example is Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • variable focalization The presentation of different episodes of the story as seen through the eyes of several focalizers. For example, in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the narrative’s events are seen through the eyes of Clarissa Dalloway, Richard Dalloway, Peter Walsh, Septimus Warren Smith, Rezia Smith, and many other internal focalizers.
  • multiple focalization A technique of presenting an episode repeatedly, each time seen through the eyes of a different (internal) focalizer. Typically, what is demonstrated by this technique is that different people tend to perceive or interpret the same event in radically different fashion. Texts that are told by more than one narrator (such as epistolary novels) create multiple focalization based on external focalizers (example: Fowles, The Collector). See Collier (1992b) for a discussion of multiple internal focalization in Patrick White’s The Solid Mandala.
  • collective focalization Focalization through either plural narrators (‘we narrative’) or a group of characters (‘collective reflectors’). See Stanzel (1984: 172); Banfield (1982: 96). Example:

A small crowd meanwhile had gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Listlessly, yet confidently, poor people all of them, they waited; looked at the Palace itself with the flag flying; at Victoria, billowing on her mount, admired the shelves of running water, her geraniums; singled out from the motor cars in the Mall first this one, then that […]. (Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway)

In Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story”, the central character Guillermo Segovia, begins as the fixed focalizer. We as readers experience Segovia’s journey from his lecture to his home from his own perspective. As he began to write about Ofeila, the story shifted to Ofeila’s point of view allowing the reader to now sense her emotions and thoughts. These two different points of views are a primary example of variable focalization. This experience reminded me of the movie Vantage Point. This film is viewed from eight different “vantage points”, that are part of a puzzle that leads to the mysterious conclusion. These different points of view represent the variable focalization. Here is a comical review of this movie.

 

Works Cited

Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 27 June 2011. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>.

 

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Sep 19 2011

Response 1

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John Rodriguez

Professor Steven Alvarez

English 363

September 13, 2011

 

Should it be  “He Lived in a Story” ?

            Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story” is a mystifying story that left me questioning who was the real narrator. Was Ofelia in Segova’s world or was it vice-versa? Knowing that you are being watched has an unmistakable feeling of weighty darkness that is fixed inside your chest, which both these characters demonstrated. But the transitions of narration from Segova to Ofelia lead me to believe that Ofelia is the “Architect” and Segova was the fiction she created. Ofelia later begins to think:

                        It occurs to me that I should write that likely the man’s name is Guillermo, he has a beard, a long straight nose. It could be Guillermo Segovia, the writer, who at the same time lives as another Guillermo Segovia. Guillermo Segovia in Guillermo Samperio, each inside the other, a single body. I insist on thinking that he writes with his typewriter precisely what I write, word upon word, only one discourse and two worlds. Guillermo writes a story that is too pretentious; the central character could have my name. I write that he writes a story that I live in. (Samperio 60)

Guillermo Segovia has just entered Ofelia’s world and has become a fictional character in her story. The use of first person narration indicates who is in control of the story since we are only getting one point of view. Ofelia even gives Segovia character traits when she claims his story to be too pretentious.  For the rest of the story, Ofelia goes into detail describing every little act he takes giving him anxious paranormal feelings of being watched. In the end, her fictional character meets up with her in her story and she states: “he stops next to me; in silence, accepting our fatal destiny, he takes my hand and I am willing” (62). This clearly indicates she is the architect for the reason that she is the one who ultimately chooses her own fate.

 

 

 

 

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