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Free Barron's Booknotes-Don Quixote by Migel de Cervantes-Free Book Notes
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TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING

THE NOVEL

1. The French novelist Anatole France wrote: "Woe to him who is not sometimes a Don Quixote, and who never took windmills for giants!" What is your reaction to this statement?

2. Choose one of the following interpretations of Don Quixote and discuss:

A. Don Quixote is a comic character, created purely for our entertainment.
B. Don Quixote is a Christian hero who lives by his faith despite many trials and temptations.
C. Don Quixote is an existential hero, who through sheer willpower imposes his moral values on an amoral world.
D. The character of Don Quixote is an excellent psychological portrait of a revolutionary.

3. What does the novel say about romantic love?

4. The famous novel Madame Bovary by the French writer Gustave Flaubert has been called a modern version of Don Quixote. You might read Flaubert's novel and discuss why you do or do not think the comparison is valid.


STRUCTURE AND STYLE

1. Discuss the differences between Part I and Part II of Don Quixote. Which part do you prefer?

2. How does Sancho's fondness for proverbs contribute to the story?

3. There is a great deal of slapstick comedy in Don Quixote. Choose one or more scenes and explain how the author uses timing, mistaken identities, and suspense to keep the humor moving forward.

MINOR CHARACTERS

1. Compare Dulcinea and Altisidora.

2. What is Cervantes' attitude toward Maritornes? Is it cruel or compassionate? --3. Do you think Cervantes created the characters of the Duke and Duchess to criticize the aristocracy in general and the attitudes of wealthy patrons? Or were these characters merely intended as comic devices?

4. What is the symbolic function of Sampson Carrasco's disguise as the "Knight of the Mirrors"? Why is Carrasco sometimes called the "false Quixote"?

5. Did Cervantes believe that the obsolescence of chivalry was a tragedy? Or did he think its passing was a good thing? Whatever you decide, use evidence from the novel to support your conclusion.

DON QUIXOTE AND SANCHO

1. Some readers think that Cervantes became aware of the serious implications of Don Quixote's character only after his book was partly written. Can you find any evidence to support this idea?

2. Why does Don Quixote die?

3. In what ways does Don Quixote continue to resemble Alonso Quixano, even in his madness?

4. Why does Don Quixote cry when he sees the peasant girl who is supposed to be his Dulcinea?

5. Find three incidents in the story in which Sancho tries to trick Don Quixote. What are his motives in each incident? How do such incidents show Sancho's developing character?

6. Were you surprised when Sancho turned out to be a wise governor of his island. Why or why not?

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