Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Alonso Quixano declares himself to be Don Quixote and, dressed in an old suit of armor and riding a feeble nag called Rocinante, secretly leaves the home that he shares with his niece and housekeeper. After riding all day, he stops at an inn, which he imagines to be a castle, and there has the innkeeper perform a ridiculous ceremony that, in Don Quixote’s mind, makes him a knight. Now he will be able to begin the work of knight errantry, serving his state by redressing wrongs and by participating in fabulous adventures that will bring him honor and fame. All his exploits he will dedicate to the lady of his fancies, Dulcinea del Toboso, a person loosely identified with Aldonza Lorenzo, a farm girl whom Don Quixote had admired at one time.

In Don Quixote’s first opportunity to perform a good deed, he interrupts the beating of a young boy, Andrew, by his master, Juan Haldudo. Proud of his accomplishment, Don Quixote departs without realizing that his intervention later causes Andrew to suffer even more severely at the hands of his master. Following another adventure, Don Quixote is discovered badly beaten by a neighbor, who brings him home. While Don Quixote is recuperating, his niece and housekeeper, along with his friends, the village priest and the barber, burn the books of chivalry that have produced Don Quixote’s madness, hoping thus to effect a cure.

Don Quixote recovers and entices his friend Sancho Panza to join him on a second...

(The entire section is 497 words.)