Tag Archives: Don Quixote

Eustacia Quixote

I’m getting little hints of Don Quixote throughout The Return of the Native.  I think it all started in Book Second, chapter three.  First Eustacia has a strange dream where she is dancing with a man in “silver armor“.  He’s even wearing a helmet and visor.  “Oh!” I thought, “this reminds me of our old friend DQ.”  Then in the very same chapter, the narrator uses a word I will always associate with Don Quixote–sally.

“The fifth sally was in the afternoon; it was fine, and she remained out long, walking to the very top of the valley in which Blooms-End lay.

Miss Vye is trying to, oh, so casually, run into newcomer Clym Yeobright.  All those trips out on the heath were for naught.

That’s okay… I have it on good authority that in just a few pages Eustacia will get to don armor herself.  Maybe even in the form of a cardboard helmet, just like our old errant knight.

PS.  Anyone else feeling a Christian Cantle/Sancho Panza connection?  Maybe I just miss Don Quixote.  Why is it the further away I get from some novels the more I like them?


1 Comment

Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Don Quixote, The Return of the Native


Tags: , ,

Sancho and Sam

“It will be perceived, as has been before intimated, that Master Sam had a native talent that might, undoubtedly, have raised him to eminence in political life, –a talent of making capital out of everything that turned up, to be invested for his own especial praise and glory; and having done up his piety and humility, as he trusted, to the satisfaction of the parlor, he clapped his palm-leaf on his head, with a sort of rakish, free-and-easy air, and proceeded to the dominions of Aunt Chloe, with the intention of flourishing largely in the kitchen.”  Uncle Tom’s Cabin Chapter VIII

I think Sam could have had a career as Sancho’s lieutenant governor on Hankypanky Island.  Who would have guessed that a tiny part of Uncle Tom’s Cabin would remind me of Don Quixote?  There were other scenes with Sam that were reminiscent of Sancho antics, don’t you think?


Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


Tags: , , , ,

Classic Themes Revisited

Last September I had a revelation about classic literature themes.  At that point our group had read the first three novels of the WEM list.  I noticed that these books had three themes in common.  I’ve copied part of that post here and added what I’ve found in my reading of Moby-Dick to these notes.  I’m thinking I have thesis material for my DIY degree.

1.  Travel
*In the book Don Quixote, the main character had sallies throughout the countryside.
*In Pilgrim’s Progress Christian and Christiana had journeys to the Celestial City.
*In Gulliver’s Travels–well, it’s in the title.  Traveling is part of the story.  Actually four parts of the story.
*In Moby-Dick Ishmael signs up for a three-year stint on a whaling ship.

2. Giants
*Don Quixote thought he saw giants where windmills were.
*Christian had a terrible encounter with the Giant Despair.  There was also the Giant Maul.
*The people of Lilliput call Lemuel Gulliver a “man-mountain”.  To their six-inch frames, Gulliver is a giant.
In the second part of Gulliver’s Travels, the roles are reversed.  Gulliver is tiny compared to the people of Brobdingnag.
*In chapter 34 of Moby-Dick, the harpoonist named Daggoo is described as having “colossal limbs, making the low cabin framework to shake, as when an African elephant goes passenger in a ship.”  Later the book says, “Not by beef or by bread, are giants made or nourished.”

3. Bodily Functions:  I’ll try to be discreet and follow the lead of my fellow blogger.
*DQ had balsam; and a separate instance with Sancho on his donkey that I wish I could forget.
*In PP, Matthew takes a medicine to help him with his guilt gripe.
*In GT, I read about two instances of No 1 and one instance of No 2.
*My very first footnote in chapter one of Moby-Dick explains this phrase “if you never violate the Pthagorean maxim.”  Here’s the footnote: Pythagoras advised his disciples “to abstain from beans because they are flatulent and partake most of the breath of life.”

All of the novels we’ve read have included some sort of travel.  Elizabeth travels with her aunt and uncle.  Oliver runs away to London.  Jane goes to boarding school, takes a carriage to Thornfield Hall, and travels on foot across the moor.  Hester and Pearl take a boat across the ocean in the epilogue.

Sadly, or not so sadly, none of the other novels involve giants or bodily functions.

I’m imagining what it will be like to do an oral defense of my “thesis”.  Don’t you think the scholars will be impressed?


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Concerning Chapter Titles

In the WEM‘s section titled “How to Read A Novel,” readers are asked to pay attention to the table of contents of each book.  Susan Wise Bauer explains that it makes a difference whether a novel has chapter titles or not.

Don Quixote has many short chapters; the chapter titles (“The prophesying ape,” “The puppet show,” “The braying adventure,” “Concerning a squire’s wages”) tell you that the story will unfold as a series of separate, brief events.  The chapter titles of The Scarlet Letter (“Hester and the Physician,” “Hester and Pearl,” “The Minister in a Maze”) introduce you to the story’s main characters.  In both cases the chapter titles tell you how to approach the book.  Don Quixote is an episodic adventure; The Scarlet Letter is an examination of character.

My copy of The Scarlet Letter does not have a table of contents, but the chapters do have titles.  Chapter three is called “Recognition.”  Hester stands on the scaffold, holding infant Pearl.  She notices a stranger.  Hawthorne paints a description of the character without revealing his name.  Hester does not need the narrator to name this man she immediately (as the chapter aptly says) recognizes.  It is such as shock to her that she “presses her infant to her bosom with so convulsive a force that the poor babe uttered another cry of pain.”

The other instance of recognition in this chapter comes toward the end when the man shouts out from the crowd, “Speak; and give you child a father!”  Here, Hawthorne tells us Hester recognized the man’s voice.

Tell me, first-time-readers, who did you suspect this man was when you reached chapter three?


Posted by on March 6, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Oliver’s Chapter Headings

Did you know that Dickens was a fan of Cerventes?  It’s true.  Jeannette caught that he even used the word “quixotic” in Oliver Twist.  While most of the time, Dickens’ chapter headings are helpful,  I had flashbacks of Don Quixote when I read this one in Oliver.

Chapter XXXVI

Is a very short one, and may appear of no great importance in it’s place.  But it should be read notwithstanding, as a sequel to the last, and a key to one that will follow when it’s time arrives.

Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. Dickens.



1 Comment

Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Don Quixote, Oliver Twist


Tags: , , , ,

Dickens and I…

have both read Don Quixote!

In Chapter 41, Mr. Brownlow is puzzling out how to bring justice to the villians, and he drops the following line:

“…it seems to me that we shall be performing a very Quixotic act, in direct opposition to our own interest – or at least to Oliver’s, which is the same thing.”

Oh, I feel so smart!



Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Don Quixote, Oliver Twist


Tags: ,

Themes in Classic Literature?

Here we are at the start of the third novel in our WEM quest.  I’m only a few chapters into Gulliver’s Travels, but I have noticed some shared themes between this novel and the first two books. 

1.  Travel 
     DQ had sallies throughout the countryside.  
     PP had its journey to the Celestial City.  
     Gulliver’s Travels–well, it’s in the title.  Traveling will be part of the story.

2. Giants
    Don Quixote thought he saw giants where windmills were.
    Christian had a terrible encounter with the Giant Despair.  There was also the Giant Maul.
    The people of Lilliput call Lemuel Gulliver a “man-mountain”.  To their six-inch frames, Gulliver is a giant.
    In the second part of GT, the roles are reversed.  Gulliver is tiny compared to the people of Brobdingnag

3. Bodily Functions:  I’ll try to be discreet and follow the lead of my fellow blogger.
    DQ had balsam; and a separate instance with Sancho on his donkey that I wish I could forget.
    In PP, Matthew takes a medicine to help him with his guilt gripe.
    So far in GT, I’ve read about two instances of No 1 and one instance of No 2.

So there you have it.  Major themes in classic literature. Impressive, no?


Tags: , , , ,

Short-lived Governor

Ahhh, poor squire… Your governorship only lasted ten days.  I’m curious.  As you were leaving Hanky Panky Island, did you notice a body of water?  Did you have to leave Barataria in a boat or cross over a bridge?   Did you smell the sea?  See fishermen?  Did your pants get wet while wading? 

“It’s happened, then, that he hadn’t travelled far from the island that he’d governed (though he’d never bothered to find out whether what he was governing was an island, a city, a town or a village)…” 
page 851 Penguin Classics edition.

Guess not.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Don Quixote


Tags: , ,

Wish You Were Here

Reading chapter XLV has magically transported me to this lovely location.  Barataria is beautiful this time of year.  Finally, the Duke has fulfilled his promise and given DQ’s squire an island.  I’m quite enjoying Sancho’s governing of Hankypanky Island, called this “perhaps because of the way in which he’d acceded to power“.

I’ll try to send you a postcard.


Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Don Quixote


Tags: ,

Field Trip with Clavileno

After 750 pages of Don Quixote, it was time for a field trip.  What I call a field trip, my family would call a few days of tent-camping at a state park, but if DQ can see castles where inns are… well, you get the idea.  So, chapters XL-XLIV were read in a comfy camp chair in front of the fire pit. 

Jeannette joined me in this adventure of reading while surrounded by the sounds of nature (and rv campers).  At the edge of our campsite was a lovely creek lined with trees.  Perhaps it added to the experience of reading about DQ and SP in the woods with the Duke and Duchess?  These are the chapters of the unenchanting of the bearded duennas with the help of the wooden horse Clavileno. 

My notes/thoughts on these chapters…

1.  As much as I complain about Don Quixote, I must have some feelings of attachment towards the character.  I find the Duke and Duchess’s tricks quite mean.  They use a mentally unstable man for their entertainment, repeatedly.

2. After Sancho does some creative elaborating about his trip on the wooden horse, DQ whispers in his ear…
          “”Sancho, since you want people to believe what you saw in the sky, I want you to believe what I saw in the Cave of Montesinos, I say no more.'”
So, DQ is admitting to making up the whole cave story. 

3. In chapter XLII, DQ gives SP lots of advice about how to be a good governor.  The chapter heading describes it as “carefully considered matters“.  Unlike some of DQ’s ramblings,  it seems to be sound advice for SP.  I wonder what the government was like during Cervantes’ life.  Is he making a statement about the leadership of the time?

Jeannette came up with idea of taking a Don Quixote sabbatical to finish up the book.  A place without distractions… somewhere quiet… finally finishing the novel!  Sounds wonderful to me.


Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Don Quixote


Tags: ,