Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 10/10

While most walk into the plot of a book expecting the classic placement of plot holes and the occasional unexpected staggering moments, those rules don’t apply to this book. Don Quixote is a novel that, with the risk of being tawdry, one could call a trendsetter. Don Quixote, the man himself, is a simply unexemplary slip of a man who drives himself mad reading books that account stories of chivalry. He decides that he himself is to become a knight and travel the world righting the injustices, real or perceived, that he comes across while riding on his trusty stallion (broken down horse) Rocinante. He enlists the help of an exceedingly gullible man Sancho Panza to become his squire, and rides into a world riddled with a reality he no longer understands. That is when the scenario goes insane. Windmills become giants, inns become castles, and Quixote ruins more situations than he helps. The second part starts in an actuality where part one has been published, so society knows how mad Quixote really is, leading to him being used and ridiculed.

Cervantes adds the most ludicrous aspects into the story, yet the book comes out utterly unscathed and understandable. He writes the book with a narrator in first person talking about the story in third person. The writing isn’t flowery (mostly). Cervantes does not embellish or try to impress the reader, he expounds on the story. The storyline of the book is relative to the situation Cervantes wants the reader to be in. There are many stories that are written on the side and brought in, so the reader is sometimes reading two or even three stories side by side at one time.

There are thousands of riveting aspects, but Cervantes focuses on one facet. The narrator reveals a mission statement that says the book was written to make fun of the concept of chivalry and knights in general. That seems like a straightforward theme. Yet, there is a deeper aspect of the societal discouragement that Quixote faces due to his differences. While he is mad, people do not genuinely endeavor to assist him, but use his lunacy as a source of entertainment. Don Quixote at times isn’t even acting mad, but is ridiculed for diverging from the standards of the time period. Cervantes makes a statement with his writing that being different from what is apparent sometimes leads to one being perceived as distasteful. The whole book has many intricacies that are woven around the main plot.

There is a special appeal of the book that makes the book selective about who it allows to enjoy it. It is not always interesting. It is horrendously long ( a thousand pages anybody?). The plot does not always catapult you into a state of frenzy to understand what is in the future for the characters, nor do you necessarily want the characters to succeed, yet it is immensely rewarding. The audience that would be drawn to the story would want a book that has no secrets. The book never abandons the reader of sideroads, makes them chase after it, or pushes them in the wrong direction. The reader must recognize there is not necessarily a happy ending, but when they are done they would have comprehend every single thing they are meant to understand. The book is not interpreted, it is understood.

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