A prologue is used as an introduction to the story as well as the author. In Don Quixote, Cervantes addresses the audience as “idle reader” and goes on to explain that he is having trouble writing the prologue. He ends up getting help from an outside unknown character –
“Your first problem about the sonnets, epigrams, and eulogies written by important and titled people that you lack for the beginning of the book, can be remedied if you take the trouble to write them yourself and then christen them and give them whatever names you like…” (Cervantes 13).
The problem which is being addressed in this statement is revolving around Cervantes being unable to finish a certain aspect of Don Quixote. This statement continues with another speaker explaining ways for Cervantes to go about writing a prologue. Here the speaker is giving tips to Cervantes to make his life easier. It is interesting to see the author includes this in his text because it makes the rest of the novel seem unbelievable. By telling the audience that the ‘sonnets, epigrams and eulogies’ are going to be written by Cervantes, the reader may not seem as interested in reading the work. By not completing his job as an author, and choosing the easy way out further challenges Cervantes’s ability to be a great writer. As a reader, I felt that every word that was written in the novel could have been a fabrication or a made up story. The references made in the novel also raised a question to me because I was not sure what was true or made up. However, I also felt that the honesty in the prologue gave a different approach when reading this story. The irony and different point of views were easier to understand after knowing that Cervantes is explaining every detail.
The time I almost died..
Two years ago, my brother and I went to JFK airport to pick up my cousins who were flying in from Canada. As my brother pulled over in the arrival lane, I began getting out of the car to go into the airport. Not looking to my left, I stepped out and began walking. I remembered later that I did not look to my left because the entire time that I waited in the car, I did not see one car coming from the left side of traffic. Not realizing it at that time, this occurred because there was a long red light and that’s why no vehicle caught my attention from that direction. So, I took a few steps toward the airport doors, not thinking anything of it, until a huge shuttle bus almost killed me! Luckily, the security guard standing across the road screamed loud enough to catch my attention and make me stop in time. I was so shocked at how fast the shuttle bus whizzed past my face that I just stood on the road. I was even more shocked that I did not notice a huge bus approaching the side of my body. After gathering my senses I walked into the airport where my cousins could tell something was wrong. I explained the story and since then I have always been afraid and extremely cautious when crossing any street.
Figural characterization is portrayed when a character within the story is describing traits about another character in the story. This is interesting because the traits that the reader is described can be from a bias or as observations. These traits can also come off in an explicit or implicit manner. As stated in the story,
“As he shut off the engine, he decided that the woman in this story would be a young actress whom he admired, for her performances and her extraordinary beauty” (Samperio 56).
It is evident that Guillermo Segovia is creating the character he wants to put in to his own story. He is focusing on her youthfulness, her acting skills and physical description when giving the audience an idea of the character. He wants to portray the character in his story to be someone that the audience will be able to imagine, not just understand. This act can be categorized as figural characterization because Segovia is characterizing Ofelia. Auto characterization can be seen because he himself is showing how he is particular on who will play the role of Ophelia. He shows the reader his own traits when he wants to express certain qualities in his character. By choosing her based on her looks expresses the idea that the Guillermo does not plan on giving her any substantial purpose.
Point of view has an important role in any narrative. In “She Lives in a Story”, Segovia and Ofelia are authors of their own tale, while Samperio is the matrix narrator. After Segovia establishes his story, Ofelia takes on a new role by beginning her own tale. She is able to connect the two stories when she states:
“I write that he writes a story that I live in” (Samperio 60)
Ofelia accepts that she is a character in another characters narrative. She is trying to reframe the situation and is attempting to create her own story. By creating this new story, she is the one who is in charge and has the power to give the roles to the other characters, whereas before she was the one who was being watched. Her story incorporates another characters actions, motives and thoughts. When reading this line, it was clear to understand that there is two separate stories going on but finally the two characters are aware of both of their existences. Shifting the point of view to blatantly tell the audience what is going on in her mind as well as in Segovia’s story was a very interesting concept I have never seen before.
Although Segovia is a character within the story, he has the role of an author. He compares architecture to writing and uses this lens to tell the reader different aspects that a narrative should include.
“A house and a story should be solid, functional and necessary, lasting” (Samperio 55).
The metaphor used by Segovia helps the reader understand the importance of the structure that goes within a story. His statement is extremely clear, showing the reader that his analysis will also be easy to understand. By stating that a story should be solid, he looks at the theme or lesson that it will teach the reader or other characters within the story. Having a solid story tells the author that the plot needs to be easily identified and comprehendible. The functional aspect of the story again can relate to the themes taught in the story, but can also shed light on the style and devices used within the story. Having a functional story with metaphors, similes and images to help guide the reader is an additional part a story should include. Segovia’s need for the word “necessary” refers to the amount of detail or information a story provides. For example, a story does not need to include ‘fluff’ but should include details which have a relative point to the climax. Finally, the “lasting” refers to the importance of the story. Making sure that the story written by an author will be remembered and passed down to others is a very special trait all authors do not carry. His goal is to try to make a story leave a memory for the audience.
Segovia is the first major character that the audience is introduced to in “She Lived in a Story”. Being a profound lecturer, he explains his feeling about characters and creating texts so that others can understand his ways. The following statement is Segovia’s way of telling the reader that the most power lies within the author, and then after that the actors who play certain roles have the ability to make a piece better.
“In one way or another actors live in the text. They live the part they were given to play and they live the text; they do not embody anyone at all” (Samperio 56).
Here, Segovia is explaining how actors live in the text by taking on the traits and roles of a character. They are given certain attributes by the author and they mold themselves into this new being. The actors live “in” the text by adapting to the circumstances and feelings that the author puts them in. Depending on the era of the narrative, the actors must find a part within that setting. When Segovia states “they do not embody anyone at all” he is pointing out the fact that the character is a fresh creation of the author, so that it cannot be duplicated or imitated.
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