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Book Notes

Volume 1, Chapter 20 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 1, Chapter 20

Driven by their thirst, they slowly make their way across the dark meadow. They eventually hear roaring water; but, it is accompanied by a very loud rhythmic banging that badly frightens Sancho and temporarily unnerves Don Quijote. He decides to meet this new adventure in the dark (inspired as he was, by his own grandiosity and belief that it is God in heaven's desire). No amount of pleas or tears from Sancho would dissuade him. Unseen in the dark, Sancho ties Rocinante's back legs with a donkey halter leaving the horse only able to hop.

"Now, señor, just see how Heaven, touched by my tears and my pleas has ordained that Rocinante shall not move." Volume 1, Chapter 20, pg. 112

This greatly angers Don Quijote; who after all, believes that his will and God's are the same. He calms down but remains peevish; much in the way of a child who does not get his/her own way. Sancho, fearing Don Quijote will go without his horse and leave him terrified in the dark, holds onto Don Quijote's thigh for dear life (as Don Quijote stays horsed) and attempts to tell a story to distract his master. The main female character in this tale is stocky and mannish (with a little mustache) and carries pimple medicine in her knapsack.

Topic Tracking: Idealized Women 12

Sancho does a beautiful job botching up the story. He cannot even finish it, because Don Quijote did not keep track of the number of goats being ferried across a river (as Sancho had instructed him to). With biting sarcasm Don Quijote says:

"To tell you the truth...you've told one of the most novel tales ... anyone in the world has ever thought of, and the way you told it, and then ended it, is something never to be seen, and never ever seen, in the course of a lifetime, though I expected nothing less from your remarkable powers of reasoning." Volume 1, Chapter 20, pg. 114

Soon Sancho feels a powerful bodily urge that cannot be denied. Not willing to risk his master escaping, he deposits his bowel movement on the ground right where he is standing (while still holding onto Don Quijote's thigh). Don Quijote complains that Sancho has become entirely too at ease with his master. As dawn approaches, Sancho ties up his pants and unties Rocinante. In spite of his fear he decides to accompany his master on this fearful adventure. They discover that the fearful sound is hydraulic hammers pounding cloth. Don Quijote, initially embarrassed, begins to laugh and Sancho releases his pent-up laughter and follows it up by imitating and mocking Don Quijote's pretentious speeches from the night before. Don Quijote subdues him with a couple of whacks from his lance, and says that Sancho talks entirely too much for a squire; from here on in, they must both be more formal, or Sancho will lose respect for his master.

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