With a first glance or quick reading of “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” by Jorge Luis Borges,” it’s easy to confuse it for being a scholarly journal rather than a creative, fictional work. It was written in a way that was meant to fashion a non-fictional work. However, a further reading suggests the reasons as to why it was a fictional piece by Borges. Focalization is utlilized in that the narrator is internal and the piece is being told in the first-person point of view; Borges writes, “I am aware that it is easy enough to call my own scant authority into question” (Borges 88). This reaffirms that the view point is homodiegetic. It’s an almost humorous read in that the narrator attempts to mirror himself as the “true” Menard; he even goes as far as to call his credibility into question and verifies himself; hence, the previous quote. The narrator poses the philosophical question as to whether or not two people can write the same exact story without having any contact with one another. With that being said, he completely mirrors Miguel de Cervantes and adopts total identification with the author (Borges 90). He suggests that “Don Quixote” is the most notable piece written by Cervantes in that it hasn’t been read by anyone yet. Towards the end of the reading, we learn that the narrartor only composed a few chapters but in the little that he composesd, it was an exact likeness of Cervantes’ works. I found this a creative way to tell a story, especially in that I thought it was a non-fictional piece at first. I enjoyed and appreciated for what it was after having discussed it in class and gaining some claritiy into Borges’ mindset.
Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story” incorporates the literary style of focalization to create a story of intrigue and depth. Focalization allows readers to gain a specific perspective such as from that of a narrator or character. It allows an author to present his/her writing from certain point of view or focus. Readers can interpret the story as being either heterodiegetic (external) or homodiegtic (internal); heterodiegetic in that the point of view is from an outsiders’ perspective and homodiegetic in that it is coming from a first-person’s point of view. Within Samperio’s story, the focalizer, or point of the view of the person the story is told from, switches from the original narrator Samperio, to his character Segovia, to Segovia’s created character of Ofelia. This makes Samperio’s story variable in that it contains multiple points of views and different events occur. Having a story told in this way stretches its ability to transcend its readers standard notions of what a story should be; it turns the story from a conventional tale to experimental and challenges what readers expect. The multiple points of views of the charactesr within the short-story allows readers to gain separate insights into the story and to really see through the eyes of the characters. Segovia writes about Ofelia, “when she turned into the alley where her house was, she could feel the enormous eye on her hair, her face, her scarf, her sweater, her slacks. She stopped and felt a kind of dizziness similar to what you experience in a drea where you float unsupported and without any way of coming down” (Samperio 59). From these lines we can see that Segovia is describing Ofelia’s situation in great detail. Although it isn’t told from the first hand, first person point of view, it still has an eerie feel to it that Segovia is able to convey to the readers. It conveys an almost foreboding tone, as if the narrator at the moment knows something that will happen to Ofelia as he describes the events of the present moment.
After a first reading of “She Lived in a Story,” I admittedly wasn’t impressed by Samperio’s work. I found it purposely confusing in a pretentious manner; however, after the discussion in class about the significance of the points of views and narratology, I can begin to slowly appreciate the style of writing. It doesn’t change my initial reaction of disliking the story, but I can now appreciate the story on a deeper level, because of how it was written. It seemed like less of story being told for enjoyment and more for the fact of teaching writing styles. I can appreciate it for its literary style but still didn’t find it an enjoyable read. It was challenging in its confusion, but the confusion didn’t take away from me liking the story; I just didn’t enjoy the story being told. This story made me realize that while I can find a piece challenging, that doesn’t necessarily take away from my enjoyment of reading the writing. I can separate finding a piece challening it and still appreaciate it for the story being told.
Point of view allows readers to see through the eyes of a particular character or narrator and is essential to having a deeper understanding of the writing at hand. In Guillermo Samperio’s short-story “She Lived in a Story,” Samperio creates a matrix story with the creation of his character Segovia; Segovia creates a further extension of his story by Samperio by creating the character Ofelia. Ofelia is referred to as the hypernarrative of these sets of stories in that she in the extension of Segovia who was an extension of Samperio; she is a by-product of the original work by Samperio. Ofelia writes, “I write that he writes a story that I live in” (Samperio 60). Wih these lines, she reaffirms the idea that she realizes that she is created by Segovia, and thus she tries to write about her awareness of this situation. By taking charge and penning her own story, Ofelia accepts a position in which she can now take charge. She can decide what goes or doesn’t go and how the story is executed. Her realization that she is a creation from another story twists readers’ standard concepts of what happens within a novel; usually, these two realms would remain separated. However, Ofelia’s awareness of the situation changes the story and the readers’ understanding of what is going on. As readers, we begin to see the fact that she flips the situation so that she is now the one incorporating Segovia into her story and not the other way around.
The power or effects of characters within in a novel are a direct result of the author’s genius and limitless imagination. The author reserves all creative ability to mold his/her characters into an exact model of what he/she needs them to be. In Guillermo Samperio’s short-story “She Live in a Story,” he creates a character named Segovia who serves as an author and lecturer. Segovia states, “in one way or another actors live in the text. They live the part they were given to play and they live the text; they do not embody anyone at all” (Samperio 56). Essentially, Segovia is reaffirming the previous notions by agreeing that like actors, characters within a novel, are given a role to play. The author starts from scratch, and his/her creations are unlike any that exists before hence, “they do not emobdy anyone at all.” These characters are given a particular description and motive and exist purely for that role.