English 363

Response #1
September 14, 2011, 4:57 am
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Caitlin Machicote

Professor Alvarez

English 363

13, September, 2011

I am Not a Good Writer But…


            Many authors make numerous excuses to make themselves less accountable for their own writing; I am just a woman, I am just a slave, I am just etc, etc. Guillermo Samperio author of “She Lived in a Story” uses many interesting techniques to defer ownership to his short story. Samperio seems to be 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. Samperio would say, in a way, many writers in early British literature would defer ownership to their stories saying they ‘found’ the manuscript, 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. In fact Samperio’s short story is about a character name Guillermo Segovia, writing about another character named Guillermo Segovia, who is writing about a woman  named Ofelia, who happens to be writing about Guillermo, who is writing about the Ofelia who is writing about him. Critics might say, no wonder does not want to be fully accountable for this story.

            “ 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… Guillermo writes a story that is too; the central character could have my name. I write that he writes a story that I live in” ( Samperio 60).  Samperio is effectively taking responsibility of this short story and throwing it onto the character of Guillermo Segovia or even Ofelia who in the story are the ones who are writing the stories about each other. Samperio even speculates that Guillermo’s is too pretentious. Being that Samperio does not use a last name when he refers to this Segovia it is clear that Samperio does not want to mention that he is the Guillermo that is the one writing the story that is too pretentious. Samperio wants the reader to assume that the Guillermo that is writing the pretentious story is Guillermo Segovia.

         The author of Don Quixote is another writer who seems ashamed of his writing and must defend it somehow. “ I was thinking about the prologue that I had to write for the history of Don Quixote and that it had reduced me to such a state that I didn’t want to write it at all, still less publish the exploits of this noble knight”(Cervantes 12). Cervantes defends his prologue by stating that he did not even want to write the prologue, therefore I the reader doesn’t like it, it really isn’t fault. He also adds that he didn’t really want to publish Don Quixote, which would be deferring the public reading of the book, and thus the writing because had it not been published it would have been the same as never been written,Cervantes is deferring blame for bad writing on his publisher. Also as in Samperio Don Quixote ,which is a ‘found history’, which also takes responsibility away from Cervantes,is a story within a story

            In the second part of Don Quixote a new author emerges to finish the found history. “ In the first part of this history we left the valiant Basque and the famous Don Quixote…This worried me, because the pleasure afforded by the little I had read turned to displeasure as I considered what an uphill task awaited me if I wanted to find the great bulk of material that, as I imagined was missing from this delectable tale” ( Cervantes 73). The second author of Don Quixote also must find history to complete the tale. The second author defers responsibility in this way and he also defers responsibility when he speculates that his task is an ‘uphill task’. Stating that it is difficult to write something makes the author lose some accountability. In the case of  the second author of Don Quixote it would not be his fault if the next part of the story was bad because for one he found it, and the pieces he did piece together were difficult for him to do so the should see it as a service to them, and be happy that the history was completed for them to consume.

Works Cited

Cervantes, Saavedra Miguel De. Don Quixote. Trans. John Rutherford. New York: Penguin  Books, 2001. Print.

Samperio, Guillermo. “She Live in a Story.” Trans. Cluff, Russell ,Quackenbush,Howard L,M. New Writing From                        Mexico (1992): 54-62

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Caitlin, check it out: comments.

I like this idea you’re developing about deferring authorship of the text. The narrative becomes a search for a story in some way I guess, or the narration of narrating (a reflexive turn). You could possibly also think of these as points when narratives turn upon themselves and call attention to their constructedness. Not sure constructedness is a term, but as far as theory goes, it could pass.

I think you gendered the argument initially, but to the last paragraph it had more to do with authority and not patriarchy specifically.

There are some great Feminist theorists who use narratology. One of the best, in my opinion, is Mieke Bal. Laura Mulvey is also pretty good with regards to reading film as well, and the male gaze.

I took off points for the MLA for the Samperio story. You also don’t have the original year of publication for the Quixote. The Samperio was from a magazine. You do have the translators though, so good job with that.

Remember you can use pieces of your blog posts to help you to compose these longer responses. Think of the responses as potential body paragraphs you might be able to use toward your final essay.

4.5 out of 5 points.

   salvarez 09.27.11 @ 3:48 pm

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