E236 Cervantes Questions, Chapman U Fall 2008

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Assigned: Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote. Book 1, Chs. 1-5 (pages 19-45); Book 1, Chs. 7-8 (53-61 paragraph 1); Book 1, Ch. 18 (125 bottom-133); Book 1, Ch. 22 (163-72); Book 1, Ch. 52 (440 middle-446 top); Book 2, Chs. 71-74 (919-40).

Don Quixote

Volume 1, Chapter 1

1. In Book 1, Chapter 1, what are Don Quixote's circumstances when we first make his acquaintance? What factors in his ordinary life lead him to beome a chivalric "knight errant"?

2. In Book 1, Chapter 1, once Don Quixote has made his decision to take up the profession of knight, what exactly does he do: what are his first steps in embarking on his new "career"?

Volume 1, Chapter 2

3. In Volume 1, Chapter 2, what occupies Don Quixote's mind as he sets out on his adventure? What delusions and preoccupations beset him?

4. In Volume 1, Chapter 2, how does the narrator counter Don Quixote's delusionary thoughts and deeds with material consequences? Consider what happens in and around the inn, and the difficulties with Don Quixote's helmet.

Volume 1, Chapter 3

5. In Volume 1, Chapter 3, how does Don Quixote come to be dubbed a knight? How does Don Quixote become the subject of manipulation in this chapter? What happens when those around him don't go along with his crazy schemes? What happens when they do? In your response, consider mainly the Innkeeper and the muledrivers' interactions with Don Quixote.

Volume 1, Chapter 4

6. In Volume 1, Chapter 4, how does Don Quixote fare in meeting his first two "serious" challenges as a knight errant? What trouble do his chivalric assumptions and absolutism cause him and others in this chapter? Moreover, how does Don Quixote interpret the outcome of the second of his two challenges -- that is, the scrape he gets into with some merchants?

Volume 1, Chapter 5

7. In Volume 1, Chapter 5, what role do the old chivalric books play in the unfolding action, both with regard to Don Quixote himself and the other characters in this chapter -- the housekeeper, the village priest, the barber, etc.? In addition, what answer does Don Quixote give the farmer who is trying to reason with him about his true identity? What principle seems to underlie that answer?

Volume 1, Chapter 7

8. In Volume 1, Chapter 7, what further misadventure befalls Don Quixote's beloved books, and why? How is this event explained to him, and how does he take the news?

9. In Volume 1, Chapter 7, who is Sancho Panza, and what promises does Don Quixote make to him? Why does he accede to Don Quixote's offer, and what are Sancho's concerns as the two men set out on their adventures?

Volume 1, Chapter 8

10. In Volume 1, Chapter 8, how does the "windmills" incident unfold, and how do this event and its immediate aftermath help to establish the relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza? Furthermore, what symbolic or other value might account for the windmill's adventure's standing as paradigmatic with respect to Cervantes' long tale about a gallant madman? Why, that is, does it so well illustrate Don Quixote's plight and folly as a belated chivalric hero in early modern Spain?

11. In Volume 1, Chapter 8, what new adventure befalls Don Quixote not long after his fight with the windmills? What mistaken perception leads him into this adventure? What principle does he defend by entering the fray?

Volume 1, Chapter 18

12. In Volume 1, Chapter 18, what happens when Don Quixote spins his sighting of some dust clouds into a clash between himself and some shepherds -- what are the immediate outcome and aftermath of this clash, and how, taken together, do they undercut at least for a time the airy idealism that generally marks Don Quixote's deeds as a supposed knight errant? What is Sancho's disposition towards his adventures by this point in the text, and how does Don Quixote respond to Sancho's attitude?

Volume 1, Chapter 22

13. In Volume 1, Chapter 22, Don Quixote's actions result in the escape of several prisoners being escorted by guards along a road. How does the knight interpret these men's predicament -- what principle does he try to defend when he takes their side against their captors? How does the affair turn out, and in particular what is the symbolic value of Don Quixote's loss of his helmet and some of his clothing?

Volume 1, Chapter 52

14. In Volume 1, Chapter 52, what is the state of affairs with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza -- what have they to show for all their adventures thus far, and what effect has their absence had on those closest to them? Moreover, how does the narrator describe the state of the text at this point (the end of Book 1)? How do the "Academy" poems and brief characterizations he includes set the stage for Book 2?

Book 2

Volume 2, Chapters 71-72

15. In Volume 2, Chapters 71-72, Sancho continues his penance to effect the disenchantment of the supposedly bewitched and allegedly existent Dulcinea of Toboso, while the two men meet Don Alvaro Tarfe and free him from the misinformation peddled by Avellaneda's sequel to Don Quixote. Do a bit of Internet research to explain the essentials of this confusion -- who was Alonso Fernandez de Avellaneda, and what do Cervantes and his Don Quixote have against him?

16. In Volume 2, Chapters 71-72, what is all this about "Dulcinea del Toboso" having been enchanted? Fill in the back-story here by referring to Book 2, Ch. 10. In what sense has Dulcinea been a necessary fiction for Don Quixote all along -- why doesn't it really matter whether she exists or not?

Volume 2, Chapter 73

17. In Volume 2, Chapter 73, how are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza received when the return home to their village? What is Don Quixote's plan now that he has come home?

Volume 2, Chapter 74

18. In Volume 2, Chapter 74, what causes Don Quixote to recover his sanity? How does he now regard the old chivalric stories? What attitude towards Don Quixote's last days does the narrator himself ("Cervantes") adopt? What do the words of the supposed original chronicler of Quixote's exploits, Cide Hamete, add to your understanding of Don Quixote's story and of the romance tales that led him to follow the course he did?

Edition: Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote. Trans. Edith Grossman. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0060934347.