I do hope you are enjoying reading “Don Quixote.” I know it’s long, and that it is from the 17th century, etc., but I do believe, as others have written, that Edith Grossman’s translation makes it accessible to today’s modern readers. (Please note that during Cervantes’s time even peasants, who were typically read the story out loud, for they couldn’t read themselves, were enchanted by these characters and their funny adventures and misadventures.) This novel is truly a remarkable piece of literature, a classic text that has been read over the centuries and continues to be read by modern readers around the world through various translations. My hope is that you might escape into the literary magic of “Don Quixote” and the many characters and episodes that Cervantes created.
At the heart of the novel is the very special relationship between the two main characters: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. By the end of this week, you will have read to the end of chapter 39, almost to the end of Part One of the novel. Part One has many interruptions (interpolated tales) that some critics feel distract from the overall story of Don Quixote and Sancho. While this is a legitimate observation, I do believe that these stories and interruptions only add to the complexity of the novel and highlight Cervantes’s fascination with storytelling/literature and its magical ability to transform and transport people away from the banalities of everyday life.
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For this third assignment, I want you delve into the relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho. Why does Sancho go along with Don Quixote when he knows quite well what “reality” is? Why does Don Quixote keep Sancho around as his squire even when Don Quixote knows he is limited intellectually and culturally from him? This relationship is central to the novel and by the end of Part II you will understand more fully the complexity of their relationship. In fact, there is something some critics have called the “Quixotization” of Sancho and the “Sanchification” of Don Quixote in the novel: each character challenges and is transformed by the other character. In fact, the relationship is very tender and sweet at times, and also very contentious at other times, but in the end it’s a special friendship, and as in all good friendships there are ups and downs.
For this third assignment, please comment, in 3-page essay, on this relationship by using some experiences and examples from the first 39 chapters of the novel. And as you keep reading, keep in mind of this special friendship so you will be aware of the transformations of Sancho as well as Don Quixote