Omaha Gets 4 and 1/2 Inches!! Post #15

       I immensely enjoyed reading The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle, written by Edgardo Vega Yunqué and appreciated it for its unique language, subject material, and mysticism.  I have never read a book that contained fluffy vulgar and magical sexual exploits and I was not offended in the least with its subject material.  I was thoroughly entertained by the characters and the plot and how crazy an author can dream up a fantasy world within a real one and connect the two worlds together.  I loved Vega’s humor and vivid imagination.  As a Puerto Rican myself, it was interesting to read a book filled with my culture and get viewpoints of the way Puerto Ricans are stereotyped and embellished.  Vega’s political flair sprinkled within the text also intrigued me, because I’m always interested in the history and current state of Puerto Rico.  He gave me a fairytale and a historical/politic lesson all in one comical package.

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Narratological Terms from Memory Post #14

Focalization is the point of view of where the story/character is shown from. There are many different levels of focalization where you can see the point of view either internally, from the first person view of the character, seeing what the character actually sees, or externally which is told from a third person narrator, who has a viewpoint from the outside looking in. The importance and impact of focalization drastically allows the reader to either see from the characters eyes, which puts you in their situation, their body and brings you along with them. When you get the external view of watching the character perform and behave, you get a different outside look at them.

A flat character is one that doesn’t develop throughout the story.  It’s usually a stock character where they play a typical role of a stereotype for example, a clown, college kid, nerd, etc.  A flat character is also known as a static persona.  A round character does develop throughout the course of the story and are also labeled as dynamic, powerhouse characters.  The voice in a flat character is weak, where the voice in a round character is stronger.  Some flat characters are Sagovia, Maruquita’s father, and the nurse and niece in Don Quixote.  Some round characters are Ofelia, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Omaha Bigelow, Maruquita, and Flaquita.

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Comparing Studied Works Post #13

1-      Samperio, “She Lived in a Story”

Samperio presents us with a labyrinth of stories intertwined within each other. Samperio writes Sagovia’s story who then writes Ofelia’s story. Ofelia lives in Sagovia’s story and feels his eyes watching her, controlling her.  At first the strange gaze she feels scares her because she has never felt it so strongly before, but she surrenders to Sagovia’s gaze and it enchants her.  Sagovia’s gaze entices Ofelia to write a story about Samperio and Sagovia, where they ultimately accept their fate.

 Similarities to Borges: Confusing, both have covert narrators who we may not be able to trust, heterodiegetic narration

Similarities to Cervantes: Contains round and flat characters, different levels of narration, readers go on a journey with the characters, matrix narrations, epiphany, discourse now, story now

Similarities to Vega: Matrix narration, round and flat characters, heterodiegetic narration, focalization changes

2-      Borges, “Pierre Menard”

In this story Borges writes about a man that is so brilliant and revolutionary that he is going to write his own version of Don Quixote, many years later and with many cultural differences apart from Cervantes.  The character supposedly hasn’t copied any of Cervantes’ original work of Don Quixote, but winds up writing the same exact passage as seen in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. In his observations of the two “distinct” passages, he claims that Cervantes’ quote was lack-luster and has no true meaning, but the same exact quote that he wrote is filled with meaning and purpose and has a poetic structure than Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Similarities to Samperio: Confusing, both have covert narrators who we may not be able to trust, heterodiegetic narration

Similarities to Cervantes: Bases his story on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, heterodiegetic narration, flat and round characters, retrospective narration, flashback and flash-forward narration

Similarities to Vega: Overt narrator, narrative present, historical present, flashback and flash-forward narration         

3-      Cervantes, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha

Don Quixote has indulged himself in fictional books about knight errantry and believes this way of life is reality.  His fantasy world to save people from danger has led him on many journeys as a knight errant, seeking adventures where he can fight monsters and villains.  His squire Sancho Panza accompanies him on his adventures along with his horse Rocinante.  Mostly all of his adventures end badly because he misinterprets all of his dangerous situations.

 Similarities to Samperio: Contains round and flat characters, different levels of narration, readers go on a journey with the characters, matrix narrations, epiphany, discourse now, story now

Similarities to Borges: Inspiration for Borges, heterodiegetic narration, flat and round characters, retrospective narration, flashback and flash-forward narration

Similarities to Vega: Focalization changes, overt and covert narrators, matrix narrations, free indirect discourse, epiphanies, discourse now, story now 

4-      Vega, The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle

Omaha is homeless, jobless, and is insecure about his small penis when he meets a Puerto Rican girl named Maruquita that wants to keep him as her pet.  Maruquita’s family does brujeria and Maruquita is able to change herself and other people into different animals.  Omaha asks Maruquita if she would be able to make his penis larger, and Maruquita puts together the bohango ceremony for him.  Once Omaha gets his bigger penis, he starts using it and gets a lot of girls, including Maruquita pregnant.  He starts getting into trouble with Maruquita and is ultimately turned into a monkey.

 Similarities to Samperio: Contains round and flat characters, different levels of narration, hypothetical narration, scenic presentation, matrix narrations, epiphany, discourse now, story now

Similarities to Borges: heterodiegetic narration, flat and round characters, retrospective narration, flashback and flash-forward narration

Similarities to Cervantes: Focalization changes, overt and covert narrators, matrix narrations, free indirect discourse, epiphanies, discourse now, story now, scenic presentations

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Lilliana’s Death Match Post #12

 

          Lilliana remember seeing huge, bright lights in front of her, and in slow motion she tried to turn her wheel and get control of the car, but it was too late.  “Oh shit”, she wailed.  Lilliana froze with her mouth wide open as she lost complete control.  She hit the van head on and the impact flipped the van over its roof side several times, sending it bouncing down the highway.   The hit propelled her back into the correct lane, and sent her flying into the outer guardrail, where her little Geo Storm finally gave out from the smash.  From this impact her airbag exploded in her face and she felt the heat against her face.  The next thing she knew was that her upper body was hanging sideways out the front door, a door that wasn’t even there anymore.  She vividly remember seeing pitch black, feeling that she wasn’t even in the car anymore, wasn’t in this world anymore, until she felt a hand pulling her up and set her sitting upright in the car.  She was stunned and baffled, but immediately jumped out of the car stumbling to see what happened to the van, the van that was in the middle of the highway turned on top of its roof.  “Oh my God”, she let out, “I can’t believe what I did!” as tears began streaming down her face.  She began speed walking to the van that was 300 feet away from her reiterating, “I hope they’re okay, I hope they’re ok, Fuck what did I do?”  Lilliana saw the flashing lights of the ambulance rushing to the tragic van, as she heard the voices of her friends approaching.  “Lilliana are you ok, slow down, sit down”, said Will as he grabbed her to stop.  She fell into his arms and cried, “What happened? Go find out if they’re ok, I need to know if anyone’s hurt!”  He promised her that he would inquire about the other passengers as soon as she relaxed herself.  The other racers, Chris, Randy, and Marcus came to the scene and nurtured Lilliana for a second before they raced over to find out about the van.  With that worry getting addressed, she finally looked over herself and the mess she got herself into.  She looked back at her car to see the damage and to her ultimate surprise and devastation, her car was completely squished in.  She couldn’t believe what she foolishly did, couldn’t believe that she harmed other people, and couldn’t believe that she survived it!  Will began looking over Lilliana’s body to see if she had any injuries, and her body stood there limp for him to gaze at.  “Do you see anything?” she asked as she began touching her face and legs.  “Wow girl, all I see are a few bloody scratches, and your hair’s a mess”, trying to get a smile out of Lilliana.  “Thank God you’re in one piece girl, it all happened so fast, I didn’t even know what was going on, I couldn’t do anything”, Will uttered.  Hundreds of questions began pouring out of Lilliana’s mouth as they were both disrupted by the sounds of another ambulance coming to rescue her.  Will held her until the ambulance approached and she was instantly swooped away as she fell faintly into the paramedic’s arms. 

                Lilliana woke up in the hospital to her parents hovered over her, and the first thing that came out of her father’s mouth was, “Did you get your EZ Pass out of the car Lilliana?”  In utter furiousness she began yelling, “Are you crazy, how can you ask me for that shit right now, I could’ve died!”  Her mother quickly responded, “David shut up!”, as she leant over caressing her daughter, extending a warm, nurturing big hug.  At that moment, in the background, they were wheeling around one of the victims of the van that she crashed into.  She nervously asked her parents, “How are the other people, are they ok? Did they get hurt?”  Her father said that the woman that the attendants just rolled by was in the van and, “that nobody got severely injured, they all survived.  They’re gonna sue you though!”  Lilliana didn’t care about that, and continued to inquire about the status of the passengers.  Her mother Elizabeth, who usually doesn’t take the sensitive role at all, but since her father wasn’t his sensitive self at the moment, stepped in and proceeded to reassure Lilliana that all four passengers were okay.  Lilliana herself, had only suffered from a concussion, slight scrapes and bruises, and an aching back.  The doctor said that he didn’t know how she didn’t get severely burned from the airbag and admitted, “I don’t know how you survived that wreck!”  His words were distant because she was too busy wondering who that “hand” belonged to that saved her from this stupid mistake. 

        Lilliana’s near death experience occurred in the summer of 1999, when she was working at a catering hall in New Rochelle.  She was friends with a lot of the guys that worked there since they all lived in Queens, New York.  After work they all would usually, follow each other home, but on this doomed night they all decided to race each other home.  Being a tomboy and a great driver herself, Lilliana had to take on the challenge to show the boys up.  Speeding on the highway through the Bronx, listening to her hip-hop music, the highway instantly merged from two lanes to one lane with opposite traffic on the other lane.  She was neck and neck with her friend’s car before she noticed the merge and had to make a quick decision in a split second.  Lilliana immediately downshifted and let him go ahead of her to avoid crashing into each other.  At this moment the car behind her, who was one of her friends that she was beating, panicked and hit her car, throwing her onto the opposite oncoming traffic, and colliding with the van.    This fatal accident has taught her to never race again and the only racing that she now partakes in is watching it in the movies.

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The Importance of Narratology Post #11

Why is Narratology Useful for Interpreting Literature?

            I think narratology is important because it allows the reader to understand the different levels of the story from the author’s point of view.  It allows you to breakdown the story and dig deeper into it rather than simply reading the story for its overall meaning.  This enables the reader to comprehend the structure of an author’s work and see their motive for writing the story the specific way they did, because there are reasons authors write a certain way.  Narratology also conveys larger hidden messages within the whole text that may seem subtle or even absent to an ignorant reader.  One can see the functionality through narratology separate from the story itself.  There are a lot of intricate terms and subcategories that make up Jahn’s narratological guide which can confuse someone, but I found it more helpful to use these applications to smaller sections of the text one at a time, rather than the entire content as a whole.  With this, I have a better understanding of the narratological concepts and can apply it to references in books.

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Don Q Gets Three Stars! Post #10

       I was initially intimidated by the overwhelming size of  The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, and I never got past that.  Perhaps if I read this book at my own leisure than it would’ve interested me more, but since there were deadlines assigned to reading it, I found myself reading the book just to get it done.  I did however enjoy the language used, the old school syntax appealed to me and felt almost romanticized, even when the stories were about funny or tragic situations.  I loved Don Quixote’s imagination throughout the book, and how everything he saw he turned into an adventure.  But after a while I was like how stupid can he be to actually not see the reality truly going on!  I also enjoyed the role of Sancho Panza, his character had many layers, for he was not only a dedicated squire, but he stood up to Don Quixote and his madness as well.  Other than that this book was just okay since it felt more of a job to read then anything and it became more of a hassle to read than an entertainment source.  Maybe at another time, at my pace I could’ve enjoyed it more but I rushed through the book to get it done and in the end reading it was simply just an assignment.

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Highlights from Chapter XX Post #9

       Several interesting concepts piqued my interest in Chapter 20 of, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.  First off, why haven’t we still not met “the incomparable lady Dulcinea” (Cervantes 155)?  And how can we never meet a character that has so much impact on our main characters life of knight errantry?  Although the original Aldonza Lorenzo does exist, Don Quixote has created his fair princess Dulcinea as an extension of her and in his mind is the most beautiful princess in all the lands.  Don Quixote has used figural characterization to create the character of Dulcinea and although he has never met her, she motivates him to conquer all of his adventures, and although as a physical character she is absent from this novel, we know who she is and how important her role is.  

       I also enjoyed the section where Sancho outwits Don Quixote, another example of Sancho as a round character.  To stop Don Quixote from continuing his adventure of finding water in the darkness of the night, Sancho ties Rocinante’s hind legs together so that Don Quixote couldn’t leave.  Don Quixote had no idea why Rocinante wasn’t moving and finally gives up. 

       In this chapter, Sancho also has a major accident where he has a serious case of diarrhea, so serious that he can’t hold it, and I guess is too afraid to excuse himself to relieve himself, that he ultimately releases his pains on himself, in front of Don Quixote.   Questions were raised in class as to the humor of poop jokes, and I guess it’s funny because everyone does it and can relate to it.  This humor makes light of a nasty, unpredictable and natural disposal that sets the stage for countless topics surrounding the main topic.  For Miguel Cervantes to include this passage it allows the readers to see the characters as real people experiencing real things that we go through and sometimes can’t control.

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Discourse & Story Time Allign with Don Quixote & the Knight Post #8

       The order of events in a story adds to the appeal or purpose of the tale.  To understand the tempo of a story a reader must pay attention to the discourse time and story time addressed.  According to Manfred Jahn in “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative,” he explains discourse time as being the length of time it takes someone to read a section of the book or the entire text as it relates to real time.  Story time relates to the fictional time in the story for distinct situations the characters and time line go through.  Jahn further explains, “To determine story time, one usually relies on aspects of textual pace, intuition, and text-internal clues” (N5.2.2).  What I found to be interesting with the narrative tactics of these two terms is when the discourse time and story time occur at the same time in the book, in synch.  In The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra writes:       

                        And when he saw this poor knight coming close, he set off with without

                        directing a single word at him, and charged at him at Rocinante’s fastest

                        pace, his pike couched low, with the intention of passing him through and

                        through; and as he came close […](Cervantes 167)

For discourse now and story time now to occur simultaneously, the time it takes for you to read the passage must be the same time the characters’ story unfolds in the book itself.  Simply stated, if the passage takes a few minutes to read, and a few minutes have elapsed in the story line then the narrator has achieved discourse now and story time now.  As I read this passage, I could envision the knight approaching Don Quixote closer and closer and they don’t get closer until I read the next word.  When Don Quixote charges at the knight, I know as long as it takes me to say Rocinante’s name is as fast as the poor horse can go and I see Don Quixote holding his weapon low in fictional time as I read the story in real time.  When the story is told through this technique, you feel that you are involved in the same action as the characters are and you can relate to the story in a newer light, especially when the story lasts over 900 pages.

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Sancho Is More Round Than Just His Belly Post #7

     In The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, is Sancho Panza depicted as a flat or round character? According to “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative,” Manfred Jahn describes a flat character as being a one-dimensional figure who has a limited area of “speech and action patterns” (N7.7).  Also known as a static character, these roles don’t develop throughout the story.  On the other hand, a round character is a three-dimensional figure that is “characterized by many, often conflicting, properties.” (N7.7). As a dynamic character, this role develops throughout the story.   Taking these terms into consideration and not basing Sancho Panza’s character role solely on him being Don Quixote’s sidekick, which forces him into the category of being a flat character, I believe that Sancho Panza is indeed a round character.  In The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, Sancho tells Don Quixote:

                        For God’s sake […] didn’t I tell you to be careful what you were doing,

                        didn’t I tell you they were only windmills? And only someone with

                        windmills on the brain could have failed to see that? (Cervantes 64)

Sancho was recruited by Don Quixote to be his faithful squire that will accompany him on his great adventures.   Sancho is introduced to us as obtaining an obedient sidekick role, a character that will succumb to Don Quixote’s every demand, a role that embodies a flat character.  This quote is said by Sancho after Don Quixote has imagined the large windmills as monstrous giants, only to be flung off his horse after his attempt to stab it.  Sancho steps out of his sidekick boundaries and firmly tells Don Quixote how insane he is for thinking that the windmills were giants.  He raises his voice to Don Quixote, his master, and demands to know why Don Quixote didn’t believe him after he clearly told him that he was only imagining the battle with the giants.  In this example Sancho proves that he is a round character that isn’t limited to subservient speech or actions.  He will tell Don Quixote when he’s wrong and has no problem teasing him about it, hence getting beat later in the story when he laughs at Don Quixote.   As a round character, Sancho has conflicting character layers as well.  After this incident I didn’t know where Sancho’s loyalty with Don Quixote laid, since he has already proven to me that he will stand up to him but in their next sally where Don Quixote attacks the Benedictine friars, Sancho runs over to the friar on the ground and “began to strip him of his habits”(Cervantes 68).  Here Sancho shows that he is a dynamic character, because he switches to his duty and loots the friar as the treasures of Don Quixote’s win, even though he knew the friars’ were innocent.  I believe Sancho is a complex character in this book, and even though he is initially portrayed as a sidekick stereotype for comical effect, I think that Don Quixote embodies the role as the typical comical character more than Sancho does.

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The Crash Post #6

 

          I remember seeing huge, bright lights in front of me, and in slow motion I tried to turn my wheel and get control of the car, but it was too late.  I hit the van head on and the impact flipped the van over its roof side several times, sending it bouncing down the highway.   The hit propelled me back into my lane and sent me flying into the outer guardrail, where my little Geo Storm finally gave out from the smash.  From this impact my airbag exploded in my face and as I felt the heat, the next thing I knew was that my upper body was hanging out the front door, a door that wasn’t even there anymore.  I vividly remember seeing pitch black, feeling that I wasn’t even in the car anymore, wasn’t in this world anymore, until I felt a hand pulling me up and set me sitting upright in the car.  I was stunned and baffled, but I immediately jumped out of the car stumbling to see what happened to the van, the van that was in the middle of the highway turned on top of its roof.  I saw the flashing lights of the ambulance rushing to them, as I heard the voices of my friends approaching me.  I looked back at my car to see the damage and to my ultimate surprise and devastation, my car was completely squished in.  I couldn’t believe what I foolishly did, couldn’t believe that I harmed other people, and couldn’t believe that I survived it.  The ambulance came and swooped me away as I fell faintly into the paramedic’s arms.  I woke up in the hospital to my parents hovered over me and in the background, they were wheeling around one of the victims of the van that I crashed into.  I asked my parents what happened to the passengers in the van, and my parents reassured me that all four passengers were okay.  I had only suffered from a concussion, slight scrapes and bruises, and an aching back.  The doctor said that he didn’t know how I didn’t get severely burned from the airbag, but I was too busy wondering who that hand belonged to that saved me from this stupid mistake.  My near death experience occurred in the summer of 1999, when I was working at a catering hall in New Rochelle.  I was friends with a lot of the guys that worked there since we all lived in Queens.  After work we would usually, follow each other home, on this doomed night we all decided to race each other home.  Me being a tomboy and a great driver myself, I had to take on the challenge to show the boys up.  Speeding on the highway through the Bronx, the highway instantly merged from two lanes to one lane with opposite traffic on the other lane.  I was neck and neck with my friend’s car before I noticed the merge and had to make a quick decision in a split second.  I immediately downshifted and let him go ahead of me so we didn’t crash into each other.  At this moment the car behind me, who was one of my friends that I was beating, panicked and hit my car, throwing me onto the opposite oncoming traffic, and colliding with the van.    This fatal accident has taught me to never race again and the only racing that I partake in is watching it in the movies.

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