From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ Don Quixote Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
V for Vendetta (1605 (Part One) / 1615 (Part Two)) | Written by: Miguel de Cervantes
Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Sup my well read ballas? This week we gettin’ our romance on with Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Aight, let me get this craziness outta da way. THIS book is written by Miguel de Cervantes, who’s bout to get straight METAFICTIONAL on our asses. See, according to the story IN the book, the tale of Don Quijote is narrated by an editor who compiled REAL, different histories of Don Quijote. Basically, Cervantes stackin narrative layers like Jay-Z stack Benjamins. Da story go like this:
In an unnamed vilage up in La Mancha, Alonso Quejano pushin’ 50, and got a WHOLE lotta free time on his hands. But instead tryna throw game at hunnys like most bruthas, Quejano spend all his time reading books bout chivalry- which is da code knights used to live and die by. Cept, Quejano don’t just dabble- he gets straight obsessed, LITERALLLY readin’ all day n’ all night. Fool read so much dat his brain “dries out” and loses his damn mind. Eventually he decide to do jus’ like da boys in his books and become a knight errant- ridin’ out in to da hood righting all da world’s wrongs.
So homeboy strap up with some janky armor and hops on his crusty-ass horse ready to hit da road. Dude like “Yo horse. Yo’ name is now Rocinante. That’s way tighter. And as fo’ me? I’m gonna be known all throughout the land as Don Quixote de la Mancha. Helll yeah.” But hold up. First thing every knight needs is a fine hunny to devote his righteous deeds to. DQ picks who he think be da choicest piece in his hood- Aldonza Lorenzo. And since he givin’ out names like candy, he gives her a new one too: Dulcinea del Toboso. Oh, and jus’ so you know: Don ain’t ever actually said a word to this girl.
Then, all the sudden, Don realize he still missin somethin. What is it? Oh yeah: He ain’t a real knight. Oops. So DQ roll up on an inn, cuz in his whacked out dome, he thinkin’ it’s a castle. He hits up the Lord of the castle a.k.a the inkeeper, to knight him. The inkeeper don’t know what da hell is going on, but he oblige a brutha anyway.
So now that he got a woman, a ride, and some chrome, Don Quijote turnin heads wherever he go. Cept just a little while later, he gets his ass handed to him by a buncha salesman and gotta go back home like a scrub. While he in bed resting up, his housekeeper, a priest, and some other homies start BLAZIN’ all his chivalry books hopin he won’t do stupid sh** like that no’ mo.
But the Don ain’t backin down. He hit up a local fat-ass peasant named Sancho Panza and be like “Say bruh. If you crew up wit me and be my squire, I’ll give you yo own damn kingdom cuz you just KNOW I’m gonna be rollin in loot soon.”
So Don Quijote gets up on his horse, Sancho gets up on his ass, and they get hit da road. Eventually, they reach a windmill farm, and Don quijote starts chargin’ dem suckas yellin’ his ass off thinkin’ they giants. Nice man.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panzo keep cruisin, get in all kindsa crazy adventures, and receive some of the nastiest ass whoopins of they life. Eventually, DQ and Sancho head back home again. Back at da crib, they start conversatin’ with an uppity college grad named Samson Carrasco. Carrasco like “oh sh**. Don Quixote? I read about you. Man. You famous!” In fact, Carrasco so geeked dat he decide he gonna try to cure Don Quijote and save his ass from all dis Chivalry bullsh**. So in the meantime, Sancho and the Don can get back to doin’ their thang, cuz Carrasco’s bout to spark up a plan.
Don Quijote and Sancho gear up for one last ride, and make a third salley outta town. This time around, DQ and Sancho get tricked and trolled at erry turn; especially by some punkass duke and dutchess. And maybe da worst trick of all is done by dat boy Carrasco: to get the Don to come home, dude dressed himself up and called himself the Knight of Mirrors, but just got smacked up by Quijote in round 1. But now, Carrasco on top of his game and decide he gonna send Quijote’s old ass packin’ once and for all. He straps up again, calls himself the Knight of the White Moon, and tricks Don Quijote in to goin back home and hangin’ up his lance.
Feelin like a real piece of sh**, Don Quijote hits the hay, and after days of sickness, he starts callin himself Alonso Quejano again. He stop giving a damn about chivalry, says da whole thing was bunk, and eventually dies a quiet death in bed.
If you ain’t already know, this jam is one of da most famous novels of all time; and it ain’t just yo boy Sparky who sayin’ that- scholars ALL up on this book’s nuts. Some say it’s da first great novel of world literature- others say it’s the first MODERN work of lit eva’ written. No matta’ how you spit it, this book got some major street cred.
But is street cred ACTUALLY the same thing as value or virtue? If we’re anything like da characters who always doggin on books about chivalry, that answer is a big HAEEEL NO. After all, we see what gettin’ on dat romance grind 24/7 do to Quijote’s mind- turn it to mush. The priests and Carrascos of the world would say that he shoulda been reading books with a moral, not trash dat’s just fo’ sh**s n’ giggles. To these dudes- Art preachin’ anything else is just harmful and destructive.
Cervantes wasn’t the first intellectual hustla jivin’ bout how dangerous art can be. A long ass time ago, old school homie Plato was goin on bout da same thing. According to his character Socrates in The Republic, the ideal city knows it gotta keep dat cray sh** on lockdown
“if we want the guardians of our city to think that it’s shameful to be easily provoked into hating one another, we mustn’t allow any stories about gods warring, fighting ,or plotting against one another…The young can’t distinguish what is allegorical from what isn’t, and the opinions they absorb at that age are hard to erase and apt to become unalterable. For these reasons, then, we should probably take the utmost care to insure that he first stories they hear about virtue are the best ones for them to hear.” Republic II.378 c, d, e:
People, especially the little ones, are just too monkey see, monkey do. So they should only watch movies, listen to music, and hit up plays that gonna teach em a good lesson. Ugh. You guys have fun in The Republic. Sparky gonna go set up shop elsewhere. (Sparky picks up a copy of The Stranger)
On top of the Don’s books not teachin him a damn thing, another reason his homies always hatin’ on these novels is because they talkin’ bout stuff like it’s da truth when on the real it ain’t even happen. Which brings me to one of the top themes of this big ass book: deception. Matta fact, a trill critic name Lionel Trilling (see what I did there?) made the notorious claim that ALL PROSE FICTION is a throwback to the main theme of Don Quijote: appearance and reality.
First off- Don Quijote CLEARLY got problems tellin what’s real and what ain’t. I mean.. dat sh** with the windmills is pretty cray, amirite? Secondly, brutha gettin trolled all throughout this book: Sancho always messin’ with his head to get outta doin stuff he don’t wanna, the duke and dutchess fool them both, and Samson Carrasco tricks dat boy TWICE. Don Q even say that deception like dat is one of the things he rebellin’ against:
Blessed the time, and blessed the centuries, called by the ancients the Golden Age…In that time, women…spoke their thoughts of love from the soul, simply and pretentiously, exactly as they thought them, not searching for elaborate verbal circumlocutions to beautify them. Truth and simplicity were unmixed with fraud, deceit, and malice.” (59)
But is deception ALL bad? Is TRUTH the only way to roll? Naw, baby. All my well-read ballas should know by now- ain’t nothin wholly good or wholly bad. Life may have some pretty amazing stuff in it, like the Thug Notes book, but as Don Quijote say: it got some real whack stuff in it too.
Like dis novel repeatedly spittin’: one of da ROUGHEST things people tusssle with is da fact dat no matta’ how you play da game of life, it all gonna end, and even if you think you got the game sowed up, errything you know and love can change like DAT (Sparky snaps). Sancho actually DOES get a brief shot at governing his kingdom, but realizes it ain’t his thang; after he chunks deuce, dude SERIOUSLY falls in a pit the next day:
“Oh!…what unexpected things are always happening, over and over, to those who live in this miserable world! Who could have predicted that a man who, yesterday, saw himself the enthroned governor of an island, giving orders to servants and subordinates, would find himself, today, buried in a pit, with absolutely no one to help him, no servant, no subordinate to come to his aid? (650)
And that’s why we need Don Quijote. Even if all dem stories of baller knights fightin’ da good fight are a buncha bullsh**, we still need em. Cuz only by believing deez lies does Don Quijote bring to da world the stuff it’s REALLY lackin: I’m talkin dank sh** like integrity, loyalty, justice, and persistence in da face of defeat.
That’s why it suck so bad to see him step off the grind at da end of the book. If I could say somethin to Cervantes bout this book’s ending, it would probably sound a lot like what Don Antonio Moreno say to Samson Carrrasco after Sammy C kicks the Don’s ass once and for all:
“may God forgive you for the damage you’ve done to the whole rest of the world, in trying to cure the wittiest lunatic ever seen! Don’t you see, my dear sir, that, whatever utility there might be in curing him, it could never match the pleasure he gives with his madness?” (706)
Now as far as this thug’s concerned, it ain’t REALLY Don Quijote that dies at the end, it’s just Alonso Quejano. Don Quijote gonna keep riding’ on, playa- in here and in here. So screw da haters-get out there and make da world a better place, y’all. And I wanna tell you ’bout another channel out there that’s making the world a better place, too—it’s called THE SCHOOL OF LIFE.
Take a few minutes and check out their channel by clicking here. The School of Life explores super important topics like philosophy, psychology, sex, spirituality, and now – literature. They’ve got a badass library of smart, easy-to-understand videos, and you should definitely subscribe while you’re over there.
I think you’ll love their channel as much as we do. A’ight, Sparky Sweets out—Peace!