“Over conceits of this sort the poor gentleman lost his wits and used to lie awake striving to understand them and worm the meaning out of them; what Aristotle himself could not have made out or extracted had he come to life again for that special purpose.”
The above quote refers to the first chapter where the narrator describes Alonso Quixano’s perplexity with one of his favorite author’s text, and speaks to the numerous books that he read and attempted to understand. It also provides a clear picture of the intense fascination with books that would ultimately lead him to recreate himself as Don Quixote de La Mancha. Throughout the novel, no matter how much people ridicule him, Don Quixote is unchangeable. Yet when he delves into his readings, somehow they are able to secure a deep hold on him. Books alter how Don Quixote views his life and the world. He sees the society around him as a callous, unfeeling place. In the books he reads, there are knights with honor, kindness and boundless adventures. I believe that Don Quixote finds freedom in this world of his. This place of integrity, where a devoted life is rewarded, is his idea of how the world should really be. By imagination he is able to truly be himself, and that is an inspiration.
Like Don Quixote, we all have created pictures of how we would really like our lives to be. That is, our ideal character traits, careers, and ultimate life path. For many, these ideals are never truly realized, with fears of failure or society’s judgement clouding our path to truly being who we want to be. Alonso Quixano, with his creation of Don Quixote, inspires those that can’t seem to break out of there restricting shells. He acts as an advocate of self creation.
As far as personal experience with recognition, although I have sometimes entertained the refreshing idea of changing my identity, I do not believe this is ever really possible. In fact, it is my firm conviction that we never truly change. Instead, we adapt to the circumstances we come across and bumps we encounter in our lives This constant adaption defines our identities. I am not the same person that I was last year as a senior in high school, yet I have made no deliberate attempt to change who I am as an individual. Instead, I have just continued on the varying path that life has taken me, always adapting to fit my situation.
In some ways, I feel that Don Quixote is doing the same thing; encouraging readers to adapt in ways true to themselves and not the world around them. Don Quixote lives in a world that he must find more fake than his imagination. He adapts to its mockery and deprecation by creating a place where he has purpose and pleasure. He stays true to himself, even if it only leads to an imaginary world.
The above video is a great little pep talk about identity and the need to express yourself as you see fit. To me this relates to how Don Quixote went about this his imaginary life, never being intimidated by the jeering of others.