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Pertaining to Don Quixote, assess the validity of the idea that all stories are Quixotic.

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hawra | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted May 5, 2012 at 8:29 AM via web

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Pertaining to Don Quixote, assess the validity of the idea that all stories are Quixotic.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that there is much truth to the idea that all stories are Quixotic.  If we appropriate the ideas out of Cervantes' work in their most basic element, these notions fit all literature.  Quixote is a character on a pursuit to realize what is into what can be.  This element of transformation is something that is embedded in so much of literature.  Literary characters are abundant in terms of finding examples of those who wished to transform their own reality and the reality of the world around them. This pursuit is Quixotic, and something seen in literature and its characters.  At the same time, I think that the dualism between Sancho and Quixote, a tension that works in which both characters represent dualistic aspects of consciousness is also something that can be evident in literature.  Quixote is the world of the dreamer, the intangible, and the notion of what can be, while Sancho is of the present, the real, and rooted in the world of what is.  This is a dynamic also present in literature, in that there is constant tension and sometimes complements between what is and what can be as represented in characters.  The working through of this dynamic is Quixotic, and thus evident in literature.  Finally, I would suggest that the idea of dreams and what it means to dream is of vital importance to literature.  Such an idea brings us to the motivation behind nearly all characters in literature.  From this, the theme of appearance and reality, subjectivity and objectivity, and external and internal reveals itself.  Consider Cervantes' own words in this notion:

Love not what you are, but what you may become.

I think that this reflects something evident in all literature, as characters struggle between determining what is it that they love in terms of what they are or what they are to become.  This becomes one of the critical points where Don Quixote plays a major role in viewing all literature.  The notion of whether something is Quixotic is seen here.

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