English 363

Blog #26
November 15, 2011, 11:21 pm
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Paralipsis An infraction caused by omitting crucial information; saying too little; typically, an authorial narrator pretending “not to know” what happened in her/his characters’ minds, or what went on at the same time in another place, or distortively censoring a character’s thought, or generally pretending to be restricted to ordinary human limitations. (Jahn 3.3.15). Paralipsis is simply when a narrator pretends not to know. In the novel Atomik Aztex a lot of paralipsis is happening. Not only does Zenzontli have to reject the actual reality of the events that he is talking about, but he has to pretend that they do not exist. Sometimes he tries to pretend they do not exist by altering them slightly showing the reader certain aspects of the society they know, and how it would be in the society that he has created. On the first page Foster wrote “I am Zenzontli Keeper of the House of Darkness of the Aztex.”(Foster 1). This is interesting because it seems that Zenzontli is admitting that he is keeping secrets from the reader. Whereas Africa was typically thought of as the ‘dark’ continent, or the ‘heart of darkness’, it is interesting that the Aztex have a house of darkness. This could possibly mean the house of what is unexplored about the Aztex. This fictitious Aztex world is the only unexplored frontier to be explored by Foster’s writing. By Zenzontli stating that he is the keeper of the house of darkness, he is not only admitting that he is keeping secrets from the reader, but also acknowledging that there are secrets to be kept. In this way he acknowledges that his story is one that will be read and mistook for reality despite all of Foster’s efforts ( such as the note before the text), to make sure no one makes this mistake.

Blog #25
November 15, 2011, 11:20 pm
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            Dinner for Schmucks is an example of what can be called a slice of life story.

slice of life story/novel A short story or novel whose story time (N5.5.2) is restricted to a very brief episode in a character’s life, often only a day, a few hours, or even just a single moment.  (Jahn N3.3.10). Paul Rudd plays a character named Tim whose promotion depends on his attainment of a freak, to go to dinner with, for his bosses to make fun of. This movie or story is a small slice of Tim’s life. The story takes place in only a few days, however it is during the weekend so we don’t really see much of Tim’s life. All the watcher knows is that Tim needs to go to the dinner, his girlfriend doesn’t want him to and then when he meets Barry many other problems are created. This small slice of Tim’s life is very chaotic and funny to watch.

Blog #24
November 15, 2011, 4:09 pm
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The novel Cobra by Severo Sarduy centers around ideals of sex and gender. How can a person of one sex be perceived as a different gender than they are?  For Cobra, her biggest problem were here large feet. Sarduy implicitly lets the reader know this by using repetitive anacronies where he repeat and recounts the events of Cobra trying to shrink her feet time and time again.   “anachrony A deviation from strict chronology in a story… anchronies recall already narrated events( Jahn 5.2.1).  Several times Sarduy repeats the lines “ She attempted scrapings. Resorted to magic. Fell into orthopedic determinism.  This event or description of Cobra’s event is recalled many times in the narrative.  Sarduy uses similar tactics when speculating on what writing is, however each time he recalls what writing is or what writing may be it turns into something else.  The narrator in the story Cobra seems very fickle and undecided about everything, unlike Cobra who cannot be more certain about what he or she wants out of life and her own body.  Cobra tries many ways to shrink her feet including aspects from ancient head shrinking and even results to magical aspects during her sex change.

On a completely different note, non-literary note, reading Cobra always brought me back to the idea of how we know someone is a transvestite or not, and that even  after his/her sex change operation Cobra will still have large feet and although her sex will technically be female, and she will be gendered female, she will never necessarily be seen as 100% female.  It makes me wonder what Cobra’s result would be on a show like this :   

. Just as with Cobra guests have certain reasons why a man may be a woman and a woman be a man may it be feet , voice, height, build etc.  As for the women whom are actually natural-born women being mis-took for men they have certain uncanny qualities of femininity. If something is too feminine it is seen as not feminine, as if it is trying to be something it is not, as Cobra is trying to be something he or she is not.  In this way, since Cobra doesn’t have many other attributes that she find makes her manly, other than her feet, Cobra possibly would be seen as a woman because she wouldn’t have the uncanny reaction of being too feminine thus in turn not feminine.


Blog #23
November 15, 2011, 4:07 pm
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                Matilda is another movie that deals with time. Story time The fictional time taken up by an action episode, or, more globally, by the whole action…. In speed-up/acceleration, an episode’s discourse time is considerably shorter than its story time( Jahn 5.2.3). For Jahn Story time is the time taken up in a story. When acceleration is used the story is made shorter and the amount of time passed in the story is shorter than what is shown in the story. In the movie Matilda, we see the character from birth until about 10-12 year of age in a matter of a few hours. In this clip we see acceleration used because the character ages from around age 4 to about age 6 1/2 . In this way acceleration is used to do exactly what it is supposed to do, speed up the story. In speeding up the story the watcher does not have to see unnecessary events ( as Matilda supposedly does the same thing each day during this skipped time), in addition to which, no one would want to watch every single second of ones fictitious life.  I would like to offer that every novel, movie, story, account, etc, uses some type of acceleration. No story is told in its absolute entirety, nor could it depict an entire lifetime because then it would take that entire lifetime to tell that story.  Another thing interesting about the movie Matilda is that it offers a very different depiction of what reading books can do to someone. Unlike Don Quixote, Matilda attains the attractive aspects of book-reading, and becomes very intelligent instead of a fool who tries to re-enact the stories she has read.

Blog #22
November 15, 2011, 4:03 pm
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In the movie Click staring Adam Sandler as Michael Newman the main character is given a universal remote so that he is able to control his life. The concept of time is center in this movie because the protagonist often finds himself not having enough time to do the things he wants to do any only have time to do the things he doesn’t want to do. When he is given the universal remote he is able to participate in flashforwards. Since at the end of the movie we learn that none of these events actually happen and the character is given the choice to actually use the remote which he does not take we find that most of the movie has been a subjective flashfoward. “a subjective flashforward or uncertain anticipation is just a character’s vision of a likely future event”( Jahn 5.2.1). A subjective flashfoward lets a character see what will likely happen in the future. For Michael Newman he is able to see that if he does not change his life his marriage will end and his relationships with his family will suffer. All this is not shown in the trailer, but the movies central theme of time seems to suggest also that this ability to participate in anacrony is something that many people would like to do and must be warned against. Michael Newman is able to fastforward, pause, rewind, slow, and even change color and languages in his flashforward. He is the keeper of his own fictitious time, a position that is usually held by the narrator of the story. Michael Newman is able to see what he wants to see ( and in turn is showing the watcher what he wants them to see) and has agency of his own time.  In Michael Newman’s subjective flashfoward he is shown his alternate reality if he continues living his fast-paced work-central life, and he doesn’t like it.

Blog #21
November 15, 2011, 4:01 pm
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The Irresponsible Critics: Should time period make a difference in critiques? 


            When literature belongs to a certain time period, critics expect different things from it. When a critic finds something they do not expect negative criticism follows. Magical realism , a popular technique recognized in Hispanic literature,  when critics find magical realism in other genres they become critical of it because they do not expect to see it in their genre. Embedding stories , another technique associated with Hispanic literature, however when used in  other time periods , misunderstandings and misinterpretations occur.

            The Time Machine by H.G. Wells ,a  novella that would be perceived very different if written in a different time period, for example if associated or part of Hispanic literature critics would critique it in a different way. In The Time Machine multiple aspects of  magical realism occur that critics dislike because this is an uncommon tecnique in Victorian literature. Many critiques of the novella observe it as inadequate because the story could never happen, time machines do not exisit and will never exist. Unfortunately for W.G. Wells, we cannot simply move him or his story into a different time period or genre, so critics will always be critical of this. Readers of novels like People of Paper accept things like mechanical turtles and super-babies because they expect this from Hispanic writers, however critics of Wells are critical of his aspects of magical realism because they cannot accept it because the time period he was writing in.

            The novella The Time Machine also has both hetrodiegetic and homodiegetic narration. “In a homodiegetic narrative–, the story is told by a (homodiegetic) narrator who is present as a character in the story…In a heterodiegetic narrative–, the story is told by a (heterodiegetic) narrator who is not present as a character in the story” ( Jahn 3.1.5). When a story is homodiegetic the narrator is in the story, when they are hetrodiegetic the narrator is not in the story. In The Time Machine, similar to She Lived in a Story by Samperio and Don Quixote  there are multiple narrative levels, a story within a story. In this way Wells creates both hetro and homo-diegetic narration. The narrator participates as a member of the time-travler’s dinner party including him in the story, has no presence in the time traveling part of the story until the final chapter. 

           Bias occurs within  judging and critiques of Wells. If elements of Hispanic literature can be found in Victorian literature and all other literature why might the distinction needed? This can never change because people like to know what to expect and what they receive sometimes  participates as something a little different.


Works Cited


Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 27 June 2011.

Wells, Herbert George, and Stephen Arata. The Time Machine. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. Print.

Blog # 12-20
October 21, 2011, 2:31 am
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#12  Discourse vs. Picture Time

            In Jahn’s Guide to the Theory of Narratology he defines something called “discourse time The time it takes an average reader to read a passage, or, more globally, the whole text. Discourse time can be measured in the number of words, lines, or pages of a text..” ( Jahn N5.2.2.). Discourse time is a simple and straight forward concept, how long does it take somenoe to read something. I am fully aware that I am not a literary scholar, and not nearly as qualified as Jahn to make up terms of my own, however when I read Jahn’s explaination of story time, and his Theory of Narratology as a whole ( considering he believes everything uses narratology), it made me think of something I’d like to call picture time. I think it is very interesting that much ‘story time’ in novels is devoted to description of how something looks, and if the writer was simly able to insert a picture into their novel, a lot of story time would be saved for more important things like plot.  Short stories, such as those of Garcia Marquez have to be very economic, and do not lend themselves to very much description. In his story ” A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, Marquez describes the wings only as ” huge buzzard wings, dirty and half plucked, were forever entangled in the mudd” ( Marquez 218). This would be an interesting place where ‘picture time’ would save some time and give more explaination about the wings. If it was conventional, Marquez could insert a picture of these huge wings, and the reader would know more about them, and very little discourse time would be wasted.

#13 Who is Gabriel Garcia Marquez

          Many scholars are very interseted in knowing about the real life of the author they’re reading about. They believe that an author’s work cannot be looked at effectively unless the reader understand their entire background. Naturally when someone writes, a certain amount of their ideals are peppered onto their characters, and others are created as the writer creates the character. Jahn offers a short explaination on characters vs person vs figure, but in this way, the author would be a figure which is “The term figure is often simply used as a variation of ‘character’; however, some theorists also use for referring to the narrator. Hence the first-person narrator in Sillitoe’s story can be called a ‘narrator figure'”( Jahn N2.3.4), in that the author is the narrator, and in turn a character.  For me, I do not think this explaination is accurate. I don’t believe that a reader has to know an author’s life to enjoy or understand their stories. In the case of Garcia Marquez, I do not know anything about his life and I can still appreciate his stories. It is possible that knowing about an author’s life would explain certain things about their stories but I doubt that Marquez was a great cage creator  and gave a cage away for free because he thought it was the right thing to do. In a way it would be accurate in that a reader would be able to reader deeper into the message the author, or narrator ( who is not always the author) or figure is trying to communicate because say Marquez was poor, it would explain why he would create a character that gives things away for free to children who deserve it.

#14 Balthazar’s Marvelous Chonology

            Very often in stories it is very hard to find one that is completely linear.  Deviating from the linear of chonological events would for Jahn be called an anachrony. Marquez’ story ” Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon”, is an extreme form of chonology or a linear time line in that the story does not deviate at all. The reader is confused as to how long events take place for, however the time line is never interupted, so much so that the story must interup for the actions of other characters when they are occuring at the same time as Balthazar’s actions.”The basic question here is whether the presentation of the story follows the natural sequence of events. If it does, we have a chronological order. If
not, we are facing a form of ‘anachrony’:anachrony A deviation from strict chronology in a story. The two main
types of anachrony are flashbacks and flashforwards. If the anachronically
presented event is factual, it is an objective ” ( Jahn N5.2.1).  Jahn’s concepts of anacrony is simply as he states a deviation from strict chronology. Chronology is when a story follows ‘the natural sequence of events’. Balthazar’s afternoon ( and day after) are in strict chronological order. The story progresses in a linear manner. Balthazar talks about the cage he has made, he goes to sell the cage, he gets drunk, and wakes up passed out. This story fights the deviation of strict chronological time by sprinkiling Balthazar’s wife’s activities in between his own so the time line is chronological. If Marquez’ chose to account for Balthazar’s events, and then went back to tell what his wife was doing at the times when Balthazar was doing something else this would be interupting the chronological order, and an anachrony.

#15  Balthazar the unreliable

                       In his story Balthazar is not only a liar when he tells people that he sold his cage for sixty pesos, he is also unreliable. This is not the only point in the story where Balthazar becomes unreliable. He is also unreliable as a central character. He is not the narrator, however the story is mostly centered around him, the narrator only knows what he knows, and what his wife knows and no more. When Balthazar gets drunk and falls asleep there is an ellipsis in the text. “ellipsis/cut/omission A stretch of story time which is not textually represented at all. “The discourse halts, though time continues to pass in the story”(Jahn 5.2.3).  The last time the narrator accounts for time before it is 5am is when Balthazar’s wife goes to sleep at midnight. The reader is suddenly jolted to 5am with Balthzar sleeping in the street. The time between 12-5 is not accounted for. These events are unknown to Balthazar, his wife, and also the reader.  Balthazar is unreliable to the reader because his passing out causes an ellipsis in the story, and we will never know what happened between 12 and 5, but I have to imagine it wasn’t anything good.

#16 Short-Story-Time!

“In speed-up/acceleration, an episode’s discourse time is considerably shorter than its story time. Speed-up typically characterizes a ‘summary’ or ‘panoramic’ mode of presentation” ( Jahn N.5.2.3). As it is with most short stories of Marquez for the most part do not take up a lot of story time, and it takes the reader much shorter to read the story than it does for the events in the story to take place.  The fictional time each story times up is much longer than it takes the reader to read the story. This makes the story go by very quickly, the stories short, but it also makes the actions in the story very quick. ” Nabo : The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an excellent example of speed-up/ acceleration. This story takes a very short time to read, however days, and years pass in the story in a matter of minutes. Nabo goes from being a boy to a man in a few minutes, his story is sped up extremely, and there is no way to even know how much time has passed in the story at a certain point.  Jahn’s definition of  speed-up/acceleration really makes me wonder because the only time the discourse time and story time are the same is when there is a conversation. Who would read a story that took them equal or more time to read than story time in a story? How would this happen unless there was an extremely long story that had the story time of a day and the discourse time of several weeks? Would anyone really do that to their reader?

#17  Economic Block Characterization

              Short stories often have to act economically. Whereas a novel can devote serveral pages to describing a character, short stories must make their characterizations straight and to the point, while still allowing the reader to effectively know who the character is and what they’re all about. Jahn would call this block characterization,” block characterization The introductory description of a character, by the narrator, usually on the character’s first appearance in the text; a special type of explicit characterization(Jahn 7.4). In my mind block characterization would be similar to a blazon , where there would be a part by part inventory of a characters body, however there just is not time for this in a short story. Marquez’ offers a version of economic block characterization in his short story ” Big Mama’s Funeral”. He describes ” Nicanor [as], the eldest nephew, gigantic and savage, dressed in khaki and spurred boots, with a .38- caliber long-barreled revolver holstered under his shirt” ( Marquez 198). This block characterization is very short, however it allows the reader to know the general appearance and attitude of the character.  Marquez does not do much block characterization as he devotes most of his time to describing things in this short story such as the mansion which gets much more of a block characterization that any character does. The mansion in a way is a character of its own that place a role in the story.

#18 Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles

            In his short story ” Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles” Gabriel Garcia Marquez goes through great lengths in the first paragraph to try and describe a character who can be seen as being ‘good’. If a reader did not read the title, considering his white suspenders ( white which usually signifies  purity), gold thread ( which  usually signifies some time of regal-ness) and braids of jingle bells ( that signify good-ness and christmas cheer or charity) the character is shown as a good character. “An implicit characterization is a (usually unintentional)
auto-characterization in which somebody’s physical appearance or behavior is indicative of a characteristic trait. X characterizes him- or herself by behaving or speaking in a certain manner. ” In this way Marquez was using implicit characterization. As a reader I am surprised he didn’t go to the lengths to state that Blacaman was a jolly old man with christmas cheer and rosey cheeks. Even the rings on his fingers being colored in a way signifies happiness, tolerance, or a deviation from the norm of silver or gold rings which would set Blacaman apart from the norm of being non-caring . In one sentence Marquez implicitly tells the reader exactly who his character his before he even speaks a word or does any good deeds.

#19 Bias of Fixed Focalization

           Although in the begining of the tale Blacaman is constructed as a good nice character, and also in the title, many other characters in the story would argue that Blacaman was a bad character. Even Blacaman’s plaque when he dies is ironic and states he is “badly called bad”, almost as if the focalizer of the story inscribed this plaque for Blacaman. This story uses”fixed focalization The presentation of narrative facts and events from the constant point of view of a single focalizer” ( Jahn 3.2.4). In this way of fixed focalization the reader only gets one narrator, which means in turn they get one opinion and one lense to look at everything though. The narrator thought that Blacaman was a good person so he is shown as a good person in the story, and is talked about in a positive way, however his plaque suggests others would not believe this. To me Blacaman seems like any other street vender who promises things that his products do not deliver and became a victim of his own experimentation.  A single focalizer offers one point of view and this is bias, the character or narrator sways the opinion of the reader a certain way. The only way others get their points of view accross is through diagloue which ” Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles” is fundamentally lacking.

#20 Nabo : The Black Man Who had different focalizers

           In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ story ” Nabo : The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait” two different focalizers are used. At firs there is an omniscient focalizer, and at times it switches to a collective ‘we’. “collective focalization Focalization through either plural narrators (‘we narrative’) or a group of characters” ( Jahn N3.2.4).  In the story of Nabo the focalization switches from the omniscient narrator to the we. The we in the story can be prescieved as the girls parents and have a very different opinion about things than the other narrator does. Since the other narrator is not a character in the story he cannot have an opinion and the form of collective focalization allows the reader to get some insight on how the characters in the story see Nabo. Nabo is devalued in the story as is the mute girl. Because these two characters do not have the characteristics that the ‘we’ think are important, they do not value them as people and in the girls case dismiss theri worth completely, and in Nabos case care very little if they’re dead or alive. The only people who seem to care about Nabo are the mute girl, and one of the ‘we’s’ sons who is un-named. The multiple forms of focalization allow the reader to know who and what is important in the story and is a clever tool used by Marquez in this short story. Also the ‘we’  form of collective focalization in Nabo lends to less accountability for the ‘we’ in the story. If the ‘we’ is unified as a group doing unfavorable things they are both less accountable for their actions and their dismissal of marginalized characters in the story.

Blog # 11
October 21, 2011, 12:19 am
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Megamind vs Titan, super villain vs super villain

           People are constantly forming conventions or norms that others can recognize very quickly.  These norms or conventions become what one can expect when they find themselves in a similar situation in life or in a story if they’re reading a similiar scene. These conventions in writing and in television and movies have become known as genres. Writers and authors often try to break these norms and turn the conventions on their heads to try and create something new, different, or comical. These authors break out of what Manfred Jahn would call their genre.  “There are countless forms of narrative in the world. First of all, there
is a prodigious variety of genres, each of which branches out into a
variety of media, as if all substances could be relied upon to
accommodate man’s stories….Moreover, in this infinite variety of forms, it is
present at all times, in all places, in all societies; indeed narrative starts
with the very history of mankind; there is not, there has never been anywhere,
any people without narrative; all classes, all human groups, have their stories,
and very often those stories are enjoyed by men of different and even opposite
cultural backgrounds ” (Jahn N2.2). Jahn describes genre as basically being everywhere. A genre dictates and replicates the events in the stories that are part of the genre.  As Jahn speculates, generes are not only for novels , but can be found everywhere. A good example of breaking out of ones own novel is the movie Megamind.

              In the movie after the supervillain defeats his enemy he is bored and left with nothing to do. The fact that Megamind defeated his villain in the first place is where the movie starts to take a small step out of its own genre. The movie takes a giant leap when Megamind decides to create another super hero that he might find for his entertainment. The movie destroys all norms of the genre when Titan, a character in the genre who does not know the conventions of the genre decides that he does not want to be a super hero, but a super villain. In their battle Megamind has to remind Titan of the conventions of the novel by saying things like ” now it’s time for some witty back and fourth banter”, ” This isn’t how you play the game” , and ” I’m calling time out”. Titan, like Sancho who is outside the genre, doesn’t know the convetions of it, but is participating in it.

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Blogs 2-10 ( Each blog separately titled)
September 25, 2011, 12:23 am
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Focalized by me

            According to Jahn everything we read is focalized, it is told by the point of view of one character or another and this changes certain things about the story.

“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”(Jahn N3.2.2).”

Jahn uses the word focalizer and states that a focalizer is the agent. In this context the word agent means the teller of the story. This agent choose what to disclose and what not to disclose, and the reader is limited to their knowledge base. When Jahn states that the text is ‘anchored on a focalizer’s point of view’ he means that they control the situations in the story, or what knowledge is put forth. Don Quixote plays around with the agency of the author. The first part of the story is supposed to be by one author, and the second by another. In the second part of the story we get a new agent, and this changes how the story is told.  Although Jahn was not a sociologist his focalization theory works well with a theory accredited to Dorotohy Smith, Nancy Hartsock and Patricia Hill Collins, their theory was the stand point theory. The stand point theory dictates that the background of the author of a piece( of focalizer in Jahns case) changes the point of view of the story, and eventually changes the entire content of the story. Who is speaking/writing/narrating/ focalizing, absolutely does effect what is learned or what is said in anything we read.



It happened like this:

            “The basic question here is whether the presentation of the story follows the natural sequence of events. If it does, we have a chronological order. If not, we are facing a form of ‘anachrony’: anachrony A deviation from strict chronology in a story. The two main types of anachrony are flashbacks and flashforwards. ( Jahn N5.2.1). 

In this quote Jahn claims that any deviation from a linear story is an anachrony. In his essay Jahn defines multiple types of anachronies however they all share the same basic idea, and that is, anything out of order falls into this category. Jahn stats that the story must follow a ‘natural sequence of events’, which leads me to wonder what Jahn thinks is natural. Is waking up at 3am , going to work and then sleeping at 12pm natural to him, because I’d consider that to be a possible anachrony. This sequence for events is not exactly natural in normal society, however Jahn might disagree, because technically if told this way, and done this way it is in chronological order.  For Jahn the two main types of anachrony are flashbacks and flashforwards which are pretty explicit. Flashbacks are where the time is linear and then this linear time is interrupted and a small portion of the story travels back in time for one scene, and then resumes its linear path. Flashfoward would be the same thing, except the scene would be a telling scene from the future. Guillermo Samperio’s She Lived in a Story is in straight forward chronological order, Samperio has teachers a lecture, chooses to write a story about himself, Ofelia is writing a story about him, and then they meet, the end.


One day of their life took a week in mine

            Jahn while speaking about Narratology makes a very interesting claim about time. “story time The fictional time taken up by an action episode, or, more globally, by the whole action. To determine story time, one usually relies on aspects of textual pace, intuition, and text-internal clues. Note that story-time may have a highly subjective element to it, especially in figural and reflector-mode narration. If necessary, ‘clock-time’ needs to be distinguished from ‘mind-time’(Jahn N5.2.2. This explanation is pretty straight forward, it is how much time passes in a story. Even though it could take someone three weeks to read Samperio’s She Lived in a Story, and maybe it would take that long if they really wanted to understand exactly who was writing each time when it was being written, the story only takes place throughout  one, or possibly two days. When Jahn writes ‘one usually relies on textual clues, he implies that the reader must search for things in the story that imply that time is passing. For example, was it sunny when the story started? Is it dark now? , well one day just passed in the story. It is hard to tell when it comes to Samperio’s story because in the beginning Segovia is lecturing, which implies the morning, and then in the story it is night time, it is unclear if a day has passed because when Ofelia is walking at night a new story starts. Also in Ofelia’s story it is night time when she is walking, however the scene where she and Segovia meet seems to still be night time, so it is unclear if the night passes and then another day into the next night, or if it is the same night that Segovia was narrating earlier in his story about Ofelia. Jahn would speculate that Samperio did not leave enough clues for the reader to give an accurate story time.



Did I miss anything?

“ellipsis/cut/omission A stretch of story time which is not textually represented at all. “The discourse halts, though time continues to pass in the story”(Jahn 5.2.3). In this short explaination of ellipsis Jahn states that an ellipsis is simply when what the reader learns about the story stops, but the time in the story keeps on going. The reader does not learn anything about what happened in between these times, however the characters in the story may have changed due to events that happened during the time the reader does not know about. This is something interesting to think about while thinking about Don Quixote,  did anything happen between when the first narrator left off and the second narrator begins? The second narrator in chapter IX seems pretty unhappy that Don Quixote  does not have a full history although he deserves one. It is possible that between these two narrations there is an ellipsis/cut/omission like Jahn describes. The reader does not have any discourse to read, however if Don Quixote  is a found history, how does the reader know that some pages weren’t lost? This would be an example of an ellipsis, the time in the story or ‘real’ life of the knight still passed, however we’ll never read about it…


Who am I ?

“dialogism The effect created when a text contains a diversity of authorial, narratorial, and characterial voices creating significant contrasts and tensions. The result is a polyphonic or dialogic text”( Jahn 3.1.9.). Jahn makes a very interesting point when he speaks about dialogism. It is very interesting for him to state that an author, narrator or character can have significantly different voices, considering a novel/story/article etc, is usually written by one person, or a few people in collaboration with one another for a similar goal. By dialogism Jahn means that a story novel etc can make it sound very different in different parts of the story. I feel as though this is an excuse for a character to contradict themselves. If a character or author makes themselves sound one way, and then a different way this would be dialogism, but it would also be in my mind hypocritical. In Don Quixote there is certain utilization of dialogism. The character Don Quixote himself shows himself in very different lights in different places. Sometimes he sounds like a genius, and other times he sounds like a fool. In a small scene in chapter X Sancho does not think that an onion, cheese and bread is good enough for Quixote, and Quixote explains that at times knights don’t eat for months. At this point Quixote shows his true fool, no one can survive without food for months, however a few lines before he wants food and then states how good knights don’t eat. If Quixote wanted to be seen as a good knight wouldn’t he not request food? Wouldn’t he never eat in the story? Through dialogism Quixote is multiple selves, a good knight and a bad knight, depending on where he is in the story, who he is trying to impress, who he is mistaking for someone else, and who he is getting beat up by.


Lost in Translation

“heteroglossia (literally, ‘other-language’) The use of language elements inherited or learned from others. The concept stresses the fact that ‘our’ language is never truly our own, and that no language can be entirely private or idiosyncratic; hence, heteroglossia normally suffuses all discourses.( Jahn 3.1.10). For Jahn heteroglossia is basically when a character or author uses  words or phrases that are from other characters or from other languages that are not their own. Even in stories it is difficult to prevent cultural diffusion. It is hard to say what words, phrases, or even foods or clothes came from which place. Many times in Don Quixote I find myself saying, would they really say that? I found it especially strange when Quixote called Sancho a chatterbox. I thought that this phrase was possibly lost in translation. It seems like a very American phrase ‘chatterbox’. If this was intentional by the true author ( and if this word was translated exactly by the translator) Cervantes would be using heteroglossia( if my assumption is correct and chatterbox is an American phrase). This word would be inherited or learned from the English language and used in the story. This could be a deliberate use of heteroglossia by Cervantes to try and make Quixote seem more intelligent, possibly well traveled, or even dumber than he is already perceived. Cultures are usually ethnocentric, and chatterbox is a strange word to hear out of the mouth of a grown man, Cervantes possibly used this heteroglossia to make Quixote seem more childish than he already does in the rest of the book. What could possibly be grown up about a grown man playing knight?


Shut up and get on with the story

In more times than once Cervantes or the narrator of the story feels it is necessary to speak about themselves writing the story in the story. By doing this the narrator is making a comment on the story.  “comment/commentary A telling mode in which the narrator comments on characters, the development of the action, the circumstances of the act of narrating, etc. Durational aspect: pause. Comments are typical narratorial intrusions and often indicative of ‘self-conscious narration’”(Jahn N 5.3.2.). Narrators often write only in one way, first person, second person or third person. The narrators in Don Quixote write both in third person and at times in first person. Not only in the introduction is the narrator narrating about the story being written, but it is also mentioned many times in the book. The narrator is commenting on the story, telling the reader it is a good story, that Don Quixote is a good character, and deserves a good, and possibly better story. To me this is an excuse for the author to assert themselves as the narrator and tell the reader something they want them to know about the story that a character cannot communicate themselves. Without the narrator’s comments in Don Quixote, the reader would possibly be able to form an opinion for themselves and decide if they think that Don Quixote deserves a full history, however the reader does ultimately get to make the decision if they will or will not actually read the story ( provided the reading is not assigned).


Round vs. Flat

“round character/dynamic character A three-dimensional figure characterized by many, often conflicting, properties. A round character tends to develop in the course of the action and is not reducible to a type”( Jahn N7.7). By this Jahn argues that certain characters are essential to the story, in a way the main character who will change and develop and change the story by the things they do. The round character would be the central character in the story. A round character as opposed to a flat character contributes to the story in a productive way. If a character is just there for ‘comic effect’ or is unnecessary to the actual story he is flat, he is restricted. It is ironic that in Don Quixote  these physical roles are at opposition with the character’s weight. Quixote is depicted as slender and Sancho as plump or ‘round’ whereas Sancho is the flat character and Quixote is the round one. Sancho is really just a co-signer for Quixote, he really doesn’t do much for the story other than fill in a few things and make the reader laugh about the things that he does or says. A flat character, like Sancho, is a character who changes the story in minor ways, but the round character , as the name suggest is the character the story is build around. If Don Quixote died in the second chapter the story could not go on, if Sancho died, the story would be a little different, but he is reducible,  we know exactly what he is, and he can be replaced.


Who’s speaking?

            Samperio’s She Lived in a Story constantly plays with Jahn’s idea of discourse. “free indirect discourse A representation of a character’s words (‘free indirect speech’) or verbalized thoughts (‘free indirect thought’) which is (a) ‘indirect’ in the sense that pronouns and tenses of the quoted discourse are aligned with the pronoun/tense structure of the current narrative situation, and (b) ‘free’ to the extent that the discourse quoted appears in the form of a non-subordinate clause.”(Jahn N8.6). Jahn describes free indirect discourse basically as something a character says but is not accounted for saying it, it is not in quotes, and the character is not named, however it is obviously not the author/narrator who is stating these words. In She Lived in a Story the discourse gets a little messy. Since Segovia is a character in the story and the author and narrator of another he is practicing free indirect discourse. The reader can assume that the words on the page are the character Guillermo Segovia’s words, that are not quoted because he is writing them as a story. Guillermo is also a character in his story, so it is unclear if it is really free indirect discourse or something else, because he is and is a character in one story, and a writer in another story. For the first story, which for Jahn would be the first level of the narrative, Segovia would be practicing free indirect discourse because he is a character in the story that Samperio is writing about him, and he is thinking up this new story, however in the second level, the story that Segovia is writing about Segovia writing about Ofelia, it is not free indirect discourse because Segovia is not a character in this story. She Lived in a Story is a very confusing story, and near the end it is difficult to even know which character is speaking, some direct discourse would make it an easier read, but then again, what fun is that for Samperio?

Samperio Pie Paragraph
September 11, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Caitlin Machicote       


           [P] Guillermo Samperio author of “She Lived in a Story” uses many interesting techniques to defer ownership to his short story. It seems to me that Samperio is unsure about his story and wants the reader to believe that it was not him who wrote it, but that it was a character in the story that wrote it. In a similar way, many writers in early British literature would defer ownership to their stories saying they ‘found’ the manuscript, and early women writers would defer ownership but stating that they are just a woman. Samperio’s story is a story written by one of his characters not by himself. [I]“ It could be name is Guillermo Segovia, a writer, who at the same time lives as another Guillermo Segovia. Guillermo Segovia in Guillermo Samperio, each inside the other, a single body (Samperio 7).  In this passage Samperio is stating that Segovia lives inside of him, that they’re one single body, but Segovia is a separate part of him, a part of him that writes bad or pretentious stories. “ Guillermo writes a story that is too pretentious; the central character could have my [Ofelia’s]name. I write that he writes a story that I live in” (Samperio 7). [E] In this sentence Samperio admits that the story is too pretentious, considering that the only story that Samperio can write is a story about someone writing a story about him. In this sentence Samperio is again deferring ownership of his story from Guillermo Samperio onto Ofelia, who is the one writing a pretentious story about Guillermo.

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