In his article “Games Telling Stories? A brief note on games and narratives,” Jesper Juul claims that “In the classical narratological framework, a narrative has two distinct kinds of time, the story time, denoting the time of the events told, in their chronological order, and the discourse time, denoting the time of the telling of events (in the order in which they are told).”
He then adds that “To read a novel or watch a movie is to a large extent about reconstructing a story on the basis of the discourse presented.” This concept is applicable to Cervantes Don Quixote in that the events that make up the story itself occur in a different time period than the one in which the narrator exists.
Thus, the narrator, and the reader to some extent, is able to manipulate the original story within its “discourse time,” which enables a more suspenseful and involved type of storytelling.
Juul’s idea that a narrative contains multiple and simultaneous time periods is exemplified throughout Don Quixote as the narrator of the story interacts with the “original” manuscript of Don Quixote’s adventures. For instance, the narrator says, “Don Quixote began his attack…But the dreadful thing is that, at this point, the author of this history leaves the battle pending, apologizing that he couldn’t find anything else written about the deeds of don Quixote other than what he’s already related” (71-72). There is an abrupt pause to the story right at the pivotal moment in Don Quixote’s fight.
Cervantes intentionally creates multiple layers of time to the text, which effectively elaborates the suspense of this scene and contributes to the complexity and genius of the novel as a whole.
Both Juul and Cervantes exhibit their understanding of a novel as an interactive medium of art, rather than merely a static item to be observed.
Cervantes continually shows his ability to manipulate internal aspects of the text and time frame, while Juul adds that the reader maintains the same capacity to insert a novel or story into their own time frame and interact with it in the same way that authors do.
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