Title: The True Speaker: Focalization and Narration in Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story”
N3.1.4. Depending on how the presence of a narrator is signaled in the text, one distinguishes between ‘overt’ and ‘covert’ narrators:
- An overt narrator is one who refers to him/herself in the first person (“I”, “we” etc.), one who directly or indirectly addresses the narratee, one who offers reader-friendly exposition whenever it is needed (using the ‘conative’ or ‘appellative’ discourse function), one who exhibits a ‘discoursal stance’ or ‘slant’ toward characters and events, especially in his/her use of rhetorical figures, imagery, evaluative phrases and emotive or subjective expressions (‘expressive function’), one who ‘intrudes’ into the story in order to pass philosophical or metanarrative comments, one who has a distinctive voice.
Samperio story: exudes more of an overt narration because whoever the speaker is they are referring to themselves. This can be seen through the actions of Segovia and well as Ofelia. They both go on telling us about how the will create their own story, which is telling us in their own view there role. They both drop comments throughout the story. Segovia goes into how stupid the boy was at the lecture as well as his ideas on the similarities between architecture and writing. Ofelia can be seen as an overt narrator when she gives us her expressions of being in the eye and being watched.
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.
- In a homodiegetic narrative–, the story is told by a (homodiegetic) narrator who is present as a character in the story. The prefix ‘homo-‘ points to the fact that the individual who acts as a narrator is also a character on the level of action. A special case of homodiegetic narration is autodiegetic narration, in which the narrator is the protagonist of his/her story.
Homodiegetic narrative in samperio- both Segovia and ofelia are present within the sotry. Segovia is mentioned first- and when he is in the story, he is telling us everything as he is on his way home. Each traffic light to wandering mind is revealed as his way of giving us details. Same goes for ofelia when she tell sus she is in a gaze. She is letting us know she is part of the sotry,also the ending when she realzies she is nothing more than a character.
- 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.
- DQ EXAMPLE:
- A focalizer is the agent whose point of view orients the narrative text. A text is anchored on a focalizer’s point of view when it presents (and does not transcend) the focalizer’s thoughts, reflections and knowledge, his/her actual and imaginary perceptions, as well as his/her cultural and ideological orientation N3.2.2
Samperio- two focalizers depending on which story we are looking at. We get an idea of what Segovia is thinking when he goes home, as he is driving and when he is starting to write the first few pages of his story. The same goes for ofelia when she feels like she is being watched, when she tells us about the story she is going to write as well as the end when she comes to the conclusion that she realizes she is part of another story.
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.
Don Quixote example:
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.
One of the most interesting aspects of the novel Don Quixote is its change in point of view. The narrator is constantly being questioned as different stories are being exposed to the reader. At the conclusion of one of these sotries, the narrator must stop,
“…because at this point the wise and circumspect historian Cide Hamete Benengeli put an end to the third” (Cervantes 243).
As a reader, this line stands out because it reminds the audience that there is a story being told from a third party, not the story maker himself. Previous to this line, a story was being told but the narrator has to stop because the person he is using as a source takes a break in telling the story. The point of view comes to a shift here because the reader is unaware of who is telling the story and how it will continue. Although this is not the first time that Cide Hamante Benengeli is mentioned, it still reminds the reader that the narrator is telling the story based on Benengeli. As the reader going on with the story from the first time the name is mentioned until this point, it is easy for the reader to forget who is telling the story, but this line helps the reader put everything back in perspective. It also gives Cervantes a lot of props because it shows the reader what an intricate story he created.
Don Quixote de la Mancha is written by Miguel Cervantes but it is unclear who is narrating the entire story. It is evident that the narration switches from first point of view and to the third point of view. The stories which are addressed in the novel are framed within each other and all include some sort of dialogue. This then raises a question for the audience of who is telling the story. The text states, “But this doesn’t matter much, as far as our story’s concerned, provided that the narrator doesn’t stray one inch from the truth” ( Cervantes 25). The text also states that “… and if anything worthwhile is missing from it, it’s my belief that it’s the dog of an author who wrote it that’s to blame, rather than any defect in the subject. At all events the second part began like this according to the translation:” (Cervantes 76). Both lines from the novel show that there is an unreliable narrator. The earlier portion of the story warns the reader that the narrator is likely to tell the truth, but the fact that this statement is written on the first page of the first chapter is extremely weird. Sure the narrator could be telling the tale of Don Quixote but there is no way for the audience to find out the truth. It seems that both statements are from the first person point of view. Words such as “our” and “my” connect directly to the reader and let the reader know that whoever is telling the story is speaking from experience. Although the narrator is not someone we can identify, we do know that he or she is getting information from an additional source. The second quote explains that the continuation of the story of Don Quixote is able to occur because the original text has been found. The narrator is using the original Arabic text of Don Quixote to finish the story that we are being told. The statement calls upon “the dog of an author” who can be assumed to be the actual creator of the story. Again, one cannot go with this assumption because the first statement is warning the reader that the rest of the story may be a fabrication.
A matrix narrative is a narrative containing an ’embedded’ or ‘hyponarrative‘. The term ‘matrix’ derives from the Latin word mater (mother, womb) and refers to “something within which something else originates” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). In linguistics, a ‘matrix sentence’ is one that embeds a subordinate sentence.