What begins as a middle-aged country gentleman absorbed with novels of chivalry deliberately evolves into a tale of purely imaginative knight-errantry in this highly influential work of the Spanish Golden Age. This first of modern novels was written in the experimental episodic form, allowing Don Quixote and his 'squire' Sancho Panza to go on quests that just as often as not land them in trouble or earn them the incredulity of those fully engaged in reality. While initially farcical, the novel slowly reveals a more philosophical thread exploring the theme of deception, all the while creating emotional and mental reversals in the two main figures that take them from tilting at windmills to fully comprehending reality. A work that frequently appears on lists in the highest echelon of published fiction, "Don Quixote" is a novel that has deeply influenced a host of notable writers and readers for over 400 years.
Let's set the scene...
Lorelai has recently learned of Rory's first kiss... with the new bag boy at Doose's Market (who is now my best friend. Shameless attention whore, party of one). Lorelai gets caught in the act of doing some espionage work by Luke.
Lorelai: Oh look at him. Look how smug he is.
Luke: He's bagging groceries. It's hard to be smug bagging groceries.
Lorelai: Oh look how he just handled those lemons.
Luke: What are you talking about?
Lorelai: He threw them in the bag. Not tossed them or placed them but threw them like they were nothing to him.
Luke: They're lemons.
Lorelai: They're symbolic.
Luke: OK. We need to get you out of here.
Lorelai: No. That Lothario over there has wormed his way into my daughter's heart and mouth and for that he must die!
Luke: That's it, let's go.
Luke: You're not going to kill the bag boy.
Lorelai: Why not?
Luke: It's double coupon day. You'll bring down the town.
(Luke drags Lorelai out of the store.)
Yes, I get it... you don't see Don Quixote mentioned anywhere within those lines. The reference comes into play when "Lothario" is mentioned. Lothario is a character in a story within the story of Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.
It's pretty obvious that Don Quixote wasn't an easy read for me. Like a friend recently said to me "Don Quixote is your Everest". Yes, my Everest... with less hiking and Sherpas and more sitting on my ass and glasses of Riesling. But even with the dulling effects of alcohol, I believe Don Quixote was harder than any piddly little climb to the summit of Everest. Those people haven't even begun to feel my pain!
I hate disliking classics. It makes me feel dim-witted and simple. You're supposed to like classics. That's what makes them, you know, CLASSICS. But sometimes, you come across a book that you really can't fathom why the forces of the Universe combined together to hurt you in such a way. For me, that pain was inflicted by one Miguel de Cervantes.
It wasn't necessarily that the writing was difficult to read. It was simply that the story did not capture my attention in any way, shape or form. I found myself being distracted by all things shiny, loud or... there. Didn't matter what it was... it wasn't that craycray knight-errant. And it is obvious, based on the amount of time it took me to read this book (almost two months... the shame, it BURNS!) that I happily accepted any and all diversions... be they animal, vegetable or mineral ("oh look how sparkly that rock is!").
To save you the time (and the tears), here is a synopsis of what happens in Cervantes' seminal work...
Oh look... Don Quixote catches a bit of the crazy and thinks he's a knight! How adorable!
Oh look... Don Quixote seems to have taken the brown acid and truly believes that X inanimate object is questioning his Imaginary Girlfriend's honor. How sweet!
Oh look... Don Quixote tried to fight said inanimate object... and somehow LOST (against a windmill, people. A FREAKIN' WINDMILL!!!)! He might not make it! How terrifying!
Oh look... Don Quixote rallies to fight yet another delusional day! I hope there are some sheep for him to fight... oh wait, there he goes! How precious!
And you're welcome. That information was hard won. Don't say I never did 'nothing for ya!
In the end, the one interesting note I took out of Don Quixote was the theme surrounding the legitimacy of chivalry books as literature. This came on the heels of a recent discussion I've had about what makes literature. We will discuss that another day, but it was interesting to see that even 16th Century Spain had it's own version of Fifty Shades of Gray.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
See all those notes? That pretty much sums up Don Quixote. But he's even more annoying than Kirk... and at least Kirk's delusion is endearing.