What Can Have a Narrative?

When most people think of video games, they think of Super Mario, Pac-Man, or the Legend of Zelda. But if you ask them whether or not those games can have a thrilling narrative, most people would say there is little to no story in those games, the only reason you’re there to “save the princess” is to provide a shallow reason for making the character do what he does in the game and say why he’s not lounging around in his own home. But one could say that those ARE good examples of narratives in video games, and that the narrative is there, it just doesn’t matter as much as the gameplay. Narrative is described to be “a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values.” This means that a narrative is a series of overarching scenes that connect in order to resolve a conflict or an obstacle faced by the protagonist. Therefore, all of the bosses are the obstacles you need to pass in order to “win the game” and complete the narrative.

What About Don Quixote?

Don Quixote is definitely a weird novel, it has many tropes and subverts the same tropes multiple times throughout the book, it also has many vignettes, or short scenes, of don Quixote and Sancho’s adventures that it almost seems disjointed and confusing to read and makes you think that there might not be a cohesive narrative in this book after all. But, just like video games, there is a story to be told, you just need to think deeply about it. In chapter 25, don Quixote tasks Sancho with delivering a letter to Dulcinea del Toboso, while he stays and does crazy things until Sancho returns. Don Quixote even says “At least, Sancho, since it’s really essential, I want you to see me naked doing half a dozen or so crazy acts, It’ll only be half an hour, and then having seen some with your own eyes, you can safely swear to having seen any that you want to add. And I can assure you that you won’t be able to describe as many as I plan to do.” This could be don Quixote telling Sancho that he won’t understand much of what he does or any of his actions, but he will have seen them anyway. In a way this is similar to the narrative of the book, we see a bunch of crazy acts transpire that are loosely connected to each other and because we do not understand them, we write them off as stupid and crazy, but fit into don Quixote’s narrative as a chivalrous knight from tales of old who tries hardest to do the right thing although it rarely works out like he planned in the end. The narrative is right in front of us, we just need to think outside of the box to discover the real route of don Quixote.