Samperio’s She lived in a Story is much like Don Quixote has a very unique time sequence. The author and characters within the story are subjected to a relative and current timeline in which the reality tends to follow. However the confusing aspect of the timeline is how they are all integrated at the very same precise moment as each character’s action affects the other. We get a sense of this when Sevogia sits in front of his typewriter and writes about Ofelia who at the same exact moment leaves the movie theater and begins her trek home. On the same note the timeline also affects Samperio, who is Sevogia, and his actions as he walks through his home and eventually meets up with a woman who is like Ofelia outside of a park bench. The timeline between the characters remain a persistent constant in which time flows at the same precise moments as do the characters.

In Don Quixote, Don Quixote and Sancho discover that they are characters of a book written by an Arab Moor. Cervantes states:

“It is said that in the original manuscript of this history one reads that when Cide Hamete came to write this chapter his translator did not render it as the Moor had written it, with some sort of complaint against himself for having undertaken such a dry and limited history about Don Quixote” (Cervantes Book II Chapter I).

However at this point we discover that Don Quixote doubts the translation provided by the Moor in question. It was discussed in class that there were other authors who wrote about Cervantes’ Don Quixote and adapted to their own story. Cervantes brings it up in the second book which follows the first after a few years of hiatus. He offers the audience a look in to the real translation of Don Quixote as he is the real translator and scribe of the history of Don Quixote. Cervantes gives himself the chance to justify his own writing and denounce any sort of following with the other authors’ material.

As Jahn has stated, narrative time is not linear. We can see this through Book II Chapter XIII in Don Quixote. His adventure through the cave has supposedly lapsed through a little more than an hour in real time but Don Quixote’s adventures through the cave through his narrative perspective has lapsed many days and nights over. This particular excerpt below allows us to see the difference of linear time through each character’s perspective after Don Quixote tells of his adventure through the cave to Sancho and his cousin.

“I cannot understand, Senor Don Quixote,” remarked the cousin
here, “how it is that your worship, in such a short space of time as
you have been below there, could have seen so many things, and said
and answered so much.”

“How long is it since I went down?” asked Don Quixote.

“Little better than an hour,” replied Sancho.

“That cannot be,” returned Don Quixote, “because night overtook me
while I was there, and day came, and it was night again and day
again three times; so that, by my reckoning, I have been three days in
those remote regions beyond our ken.”

“My master must be right,” replied Sancho; “for as everything that
has happened to him is by enchantment, maybe what seems to us an
hour would seem three days and nights there.”(Cervantes Book II Chapter XXIII)

Narrative Time

September 25, 2011

Jahn states that time in a narrative is not exactly linear. It can progress at various rates and trends to match the storyline. With this said, it can said that dialogue between the characters happen in real time however certain events can trigger a discrepancy in the timeline and time begins to speed up or slow down. This can be readily seen through all narratives i.e. Don Quixote, She Lived in a Story, etc. Jahn continues to state that there are different modes of the time that can be seen through out our various narratives; narrative present, historical present, gnomic present, and the synpotic present.

narrative present One of the two narrative tenses (see above). The narrative present foregrounds the story-NOW and backgrounds the discourse-NOW.
historical present A local present tense in a past tense context, usually producing an effect of immediacy or signaling a climax (perhaps comparable to the use of slow motion in film?).
The gnomic present/generic present presents (seemingly) common truths or statements claiming general validity, often in the form of a proverb. See Chatman (1978: 82); Stanzel (1984: 108); Wales (1989: 219, 375). Examples:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. [Ironic gnomic statement used at the beginning of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.]
Tizzie Dunn was dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to England. Everything changes [gnomic present]. Now she was going to go away like the others, to leave her home. (Joyce, “Eveline”)
synoptic present Use of the present tense in a chapter summary, the title of a chapter, etc. “Mr. Pickwick journeys to Ipswich and meets with a romantic adventure” (Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, qtd. Stanzel 1982: 42). (Jahn 5.1.3)

Jahn’s Focalization

September 25, 2011

Manfred Jahn’s Narratology introduces the concept of focalization. It is the point of view of the narrator throughout the story. This literary device allows for transitions throughout the story and can give readers a better grasp of the background knowledge between the characters. It can also be used to help grasp the narrative in a different light; there can be more than one conscious train of thought that we as readers can follow through.

fixed focalization The presentation of narrative facts and events from the constant point of view of a single focalizer. The standard example is Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
variable focalization The presentation of different episodes of the story as seen through the eyes of several focalizers. For example, in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the narrative’s events are seen through the eyes of Clarissa Dalloway, Richard Dalloway, Peter Walsh, Septimus Warren Smith, Rezia Smith, and many other internal focalizers.
multiple focalization A technique of presenting an episode repeatedly, each time seen through the eyes of a different (internal) focalizer. Typically, what is demonstrated by this technique is that different people tend to perceive or interpret the same event in radically different fashion. Texts that are told by more than one narrator (such as epistolary novels) create multiple focalization based on external focalizers (example: Fowles, The Collector). See Collier (1992b) for a discussion of multiple internal focalization in Patrick White’s The Solid Mandala.
collective focalization Focalization through either plural narrators (‘we narrative’) or a group of characters (‘collective reflectors’). See Stanzel (1984: 172); Banfield (1982: 96). Example:
A small crowd meanwhile had gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Listlessly, yet confidently, poor people all of them, they waited; looked at the Palace itself with the flag flying; at Victoria, billowing on her mount, admired the shelves of running water, her geraniums; singled out from the motor cars in the Mall first this one, then that […]. (Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway)(Jahn N3.2)

She Lived In a Story plays heavily upon Jahn’s ideology of a matrix narrative. The entire narrative is situated upon a third-degree narrative and the characters in question create each other’s reality. This is most apparent through Sevogia, Samperio, and Ofelia’s writing of each other. They are all characters in each other’s story and although they live in each individual reality, the reality of which has been warped and demented. This is readily seen through the transition between the narrators and their each individual narratives.

“As he shut off the engine, he decided that the woman in this story would be a young actress whom he admired, for her performances and her extraordinary beauty. Furthermore, the actress somewhat resembled the painter Frida Kahlo, who painted herself in the dreams of her paintings, another way to live in one’s own fiction. Even though Segovia did not give a title to his works before writing them on this occasion he had an urge to do so. “She lived in a Story” would be the title of his tale; the woman’s name, just like the actress from reality, would be Ofelia.”(Samperio 57)

However Samperio does an odd thing by letting the realities come together towards the end of She Lived in a Story Everything collapses upon itself as the characters eventually meet up with each other in the end. In truth the matrix narrative and the third degree narratives meld away and fall apart as the story comes to a conclusion; the third degree narrative is no more.

Don Quixote

September 25, 2011

Don Quixote in Don Quixote is a very interesting self-absorbed narcissistic character. His view of his current world of being a knight-errant is skewed and particular; his ideas of adventure have been warped by his books of chivalry. He chooses to make mountains out of molehills as he begins his journey as a self-described and self-appointed knight-errant. This could be seen through the first few initial chapters of Part I.

“I looked for no less, my lord, from
your High Magnificence,” replied Don Quixote, “and I have to tell
you that the boon I have asked and your liberality has granted is that
you shall dub me knight to-morrow morning, and that to-night I shall
watch my arms in the chapel of this your castle; thus tomorrow, as I
have said, will be accomplished what I so much desire, enabling me
lawfully to roam through all the four quarters of the world seeking
adventures on behalf of those in distress, as is the duty of
chivalry and of knights-errant like myself, whose ambition is directed
to such deeds.”(Cervantes Book I, Chapter III)

His wanderings through town and particularly a run-down inn with prostitutes is altered through his eyes. He views the inn as a particular castle in town and the women outside are not prostitutes waiting for their johns but rather women in waiting; ladies of the castle. The inn keeper is also not the inn keeper but rather the master of the castle in question. His reality is skewed and warped and his conception of the reality around is has been affected due to his addiction to chivalric literature and his sudden mid-life identity crisis.

Jahn’s Degrees of Narrative

September 18, 2011

Manfred Jahn’s matrix narrative ideology offers authors a very unique tool upon creating their own narrative. The author is no longer subjected to a linear time line or sustainable and realistic universe but rather have the ability of creating a story that can offer many levels of plot development in which to ease their characters through their respective stories. It gives the author a wonderful way to transition from plot point to plot point.

A first-degree narrative is a narrative that is not embedded in any other narrative; a second-degree narrative is a narrative that is embedded in a first-degree narrative; a third-degree narrative is one that is embedded in a second-degree narrative, etc. A first-degree narrator, by analogy, is the narrator of a first-degree narrative, a second-degree narrator is the narrator of a second-degree narrative, etc., in exact correspondence. (Jahn N2.4)

This tool can also be used to repair any discrepancies that the characters may encounter through their respective points of view. This can be utilized through the various levels of consciousness that is readily available to the author via dreams, alternate realities, imaginary plane of existence, etc. This is most readily seen through the eyes of the characters in Don Quixote, as they realize that they are characters within a second or possibly third degree narrative. This can also be seen through the character development between the authors; Samperio, Sagovia, and Ofelia in Samperio’s She Lived in a Story.

I found Samperio’s short story an interesting take upon the world of literary thought. His initial impression and comparison of architecture and literature brings a whole new perspective on literature. Through his interpretation, he insinuates that the literary worlds are interconnected with the author and the characters as both Ofelia and Samperio feel their presence within one another. We get a sense of this once we read of Samperio creating Ofelia; his presence as the omnipotent figure who watches and documents her life and movements are made painfully aware at Ofelia’s expense. We as the reader are made immediately aware of this connection as each character has some sort of direct influence and control over one another, much like how an author has control of his characters. However Samperio does an interesting integration as he allows his character to flourish and grow with immense power as he too becomes controlled by his own creation’s perspective and thoughts. This is most noticeable towards the end of the short story when he realizes all that has occurred and that he no longer has the ability to control his own actions; his influences have been taken over and we as the readers are switched abruptly; we no longer know who is in control and who is being controlled.

Manfred Jahn’s Narratology

September 7, 2011

Manfred Jahn’s Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative conveys an interesting theory of the process of narration. He states that there are many ways to go about of writing a narrative and one that is extensively utilized is the conception of the matrix narrative. Although it may sound complex, in simple terms it is the ability to utilize a text within a text.
• A matrix narrative is a narrative containing an ’embedded’ or ‘hyponarrative’. The term ‘matrix’ derives from the Latin word mater (mother, womb) and refers to “something within which something else originates” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). In linguistics, a ‘matrix sentence’ is one that embeds a subordinate sentence. Ordinarily, both the transition to a hyponarrative, its termination and the return to the matrix narrative are explicitly signaled in a text; occasionally, however, a text closes on a hyponarrative without explicitly resuming the matrix narrative (see example in subgraphic [c] below). One could call this a dangling matrix narrative. The systematic opposite to this would be an uninitialized hyponarrative (example?).
• N2.4.2. For a more elaborate analysis of embedded narratives, Rimmon-Kenan (1983: 91) suggests the following terms:
• A first-degree narrative is a narrative that is not embedded in any other narrative; a second-degree narrative is a narrative that is embedded in a first-degree narrative; a third-degree narrative is one that is embedded in a second-degree narrative, etc.
• A first-degree narrator, by analogy, is the narrator of a first-degree narrative, a second-degree narrator is the narrator of a second-degree narrative, etc., in exact correspondence.
There can be many layers or narrative levels that an author can choose to create and he has many tools hat his disposal. A writer can develop his narratives by utilizing first-degree, second-degree, etc. narration. He can encompass his characters within worlds of worlds; much like the recent film Inception. The characters within the movie for example, are real life plays in an international syndicate comprised of six different individuals. They maintain their lifestyle by entering dreams within dreams and imposing an idea; much like how a writer imposes his thoughts and his concepts through his writing. By utilizing the matrix narrative, a writer has access to countless possibilities of character and plot development. I.E. Epiphanies, warnings, dreams, vertigo, etc.