Thursday, September 8, 2011

Question of the Week (9/8/11)

Describe Alonso Quixano's transformation into Don Quixote. Is he insane? What is the danger in believing only one's own truths? Share a memory where you thought you were right about something and someone changed your mind. Remember to respond to a classmates' response. Post by Monday, September 12 at the end of the school day.


PaulH said...

Alonso Quixano's transformation into Don Quixote. First Response!

Alonso Quixano's transformation into Don Quixote is quite shocking because he isn’t the type of man that you would expect to want to become a knight. He is in his 50s and well passed his prime fighting time. He starts his adventure off by reading many stories and tales of famous knights and heroes. This inspires him so much that he wants to become a knight that will be remembered for his courage and great deeds. He got most these books by selling off his land and prized possessions. Finally he makes the decision to become a knight himself which some think is utterly insane.
This idea that Don Quixote seems to be going insane is supported because he badly injures two “muleteers.” because they didn’t listen to him. Don Quixote is very eccentric because he keeps quoting famous lines from books that he had read earlier in his life. Based on these examples it seems clear that Don Quixote is going insane.
The dangers of believing only one’s own truths are that one’s truths may not be stable truths to rely on in the first place. Also if one’s truths don’t adapt as the times change one’s truths may become outdated and inaccurate. So that is why it is wise to set your own truths on a firm foundation so that they can adapt as the world adapts later on in your life.
In the years that I was home schooled I believed that a public school would be very boring and a lot harder/ less choices or activities. During my freshman year of high school my belief of home schooling vs. public schooling changed and my mom encouraged me that High School also has a lot of variety and options available even though you do have homework and stay in your classrooms for over 6 hrs. So one should be willing to change some of their beliefs if there is good reason to do so.

DavidD. said...

Alonso Quixano became Don Quixite by reading too many books involving knights, which is very ironic since people who interested in this book may have already read other books relating to knights since the seemingly sarcastic theme to not read books about knights is already broken by reading the book.
Don Quixtoe is most likely insane because of his huge lack of awareness to his environment. He shows very little knowledge of what is happening even when it is very obvious. The danger of only believing one’s truths appears to be that you will lose your sense of truth.
When I was a much younger child I really loved the snow. I was almost always playing in it. The one problem I had was that even when all the snow in my area had melted I usually thought that somewhere in my town there was snow even when the season turned into spring. Later on I began to realize that by denying the truth so often to myself would never help me. So eventually I accepted the seasons and waited for the next winter.

PaulH said...

Response to David D.,
David, I like how you point out how ironic it is that people might be reading this book because they like reading about knights. But I would definitely talk more about his transformation and add more detail. I liked how you answered if Don Q. is going insane. But you should expand and go in to more detail on "What is the danger in believing only one's own truths?" Nice example for the personal part of the question. You should consider ending your response by rapping it up. Except for these few issues, great job!

Billy D said...

Alonso is an eccentric old fellow who has found his passion in books of chivalry and valor. Alonso crafts himself a new identity as well as a new helmet. To test his new helmet Don Quixote strikes it with a sword. “He drew his sword and gave it two strokes, the first of which instantly destroyed the results of a week’s labour”(4). To the reader this might just seem like a comic interlude in the story but it was that and more. This interlude revealed Alonso’s ability to break the mask of Don Quixote. The only person that can break through the mask of Don Quixote is Alonso. Don Quixote is not insane for perusing his dreams of being a knight he just uses some selective hearing as to not be dissuaded.
Placing great power in a single person is a very risky maneuver. Our government created a system of checks and balances so that there would never be a dictator or a monarch with so much power. Even a single person has a large amount of power and when they don’t have friends and a community to help guide them things can get out of control. Especially if the persons sanity is in question.
David pointed out the irony of the reader being corrupted just as Don Quixote was. However I do not agree with his reasoning for Don Quixote being insane. Don Quixote does have a lack of awareness but this doesn’t make him insane.

Philip Caffry said...

Alonso Quixano’s turning into Don Quixote is, in the nicest of terms, a weird and bizarre transformation. He is old and unhealthy. Not the typical person to become a knight. After many years of reading books about knights and the adventures they have he gets it into his head that he too can become a knight. So he dons his great-grandfathers rusty armor, fashions himself a helmet that is very fragile and calls himself Don Quixote. He and his newly named horse, Rozinante, set out into a world of trouble. Don Quixote is going insane because he is seeing things that are not there and mistaking people for something that they are not but he is also in denial. He is in denial because he refuses to believe what people are telling him. The danger in believing in only what you say to be true is dangerous because if you told yourself that you can fly, and you refuse to listen to reason and you try to fly off a high cliff or building, you’re going to die because you can’t fly. It puts you in situations that are dangerous to you. When I was younger I told myself I could sled standing up down my neighbor’s rocky driveway in shorts and still be fine at the end. A lot of blood, a trip to the hospital, and five stitches later I realized I couldn’t. I like how David put the danger of believing one’s truths is that you will lose your sense of truth. It is simple but it is completely right.

Olivia Licciardi said...

Alonso's transformation into Don Quixote is quite strange, because you would think that a man his age would be doing something else with his life, instead he's becoming a knight in his 50's and falling in love with maidens, for me it doesnt seem like the kind of things for men his age to become knights, but he seems to be really determined to help others and be a good knight and to follow the code of chivalry, which is good, but for me it just doesnt seem right, but i love how in love he is with this girl Aldonza, and how she doesnt even know that he exists, but he could care less that she doesn't know him. So for me, the transformation between Alsonso Quixano to Don Quixote is an odd one at that, but for him, he had to change, and we all have to change ourselves somehow, emotionally and mentally.

John Gehlbach said...

Alonso Quixano, a frail old man near the end of glory days, transforms himself into a heroic knight. The knight errant, Don Quixote, seeks a chivalrous life style. This change from an elderly citizen, to a nomadic warrior, can be characterized as sudden and impulsive. He can be considered insane, as he bases his logic from old stories of knights and good deeds. Applying this way of thinking to the actual world Don Quixote lives in is irrational. Since insanity involves having irrational thinking, Don Quixote can be classified as insane.

As Don Quixote demonstrates, it can be very detrimental to believe ones own perceived truths. For example, on the rode Don Quixote stumbles upon silk traders. In his mind, it is a fact that these traders are actually travelers that won’t admit that Dulcinea is the most beautiful lady in the land. He essentially picks a fight with these traders. “The important point is that you should believe, confess, affirm, swear, and defend it without setting eyes on her: if ye do not, I challenge ye to try battle with me” (23). He perceives that these men are disrespecting him and the one he loves. The result of this disconnect is a severe beating for Don Quixote. Believing in your own truths can dangerously set you apart from reality, or what the common belief of reality is. If ones own believed truths differ from those of society’s, then that person will be viewed as different and can be disconnected from reality.

Before I began playing the saxophone, I thought the instrument was confusing and overwhelming. But my first music teacher changed my mind by showing that once you memorize the keys making music is easy and can be entertaining. If my mind had not been changed, I might have not decided to keep playing the saxophone.

Response to Billy D:
I found your response quite insightful. It is interesting to think about if the character Alonso will appear later on in the story. Or will Don Quixote continue to dominate the mind of Alonso Quixano? I also agree that the only person that could bring Don Quixote back to reality is Alonso. I just wonder if that can be done.

Brett M. said...

I think as the story goes on we will better understand the reason why Alonso became Don Quixote. I know, it said that he was obsessed with literature concerning knights and chivalry, but I don't really think that's all that causes him to lose his grip on reality. Alonso seems to be passionate about noble ideals, and this combined with the romantic "knights in shining armor" of the day causes him to become completely indulged and drown in this alternate reality.

This is my own theory of course, but I think we have felt like Alonso at one point in our life. We see some lifestyle, whether it be expired or fictional, and we ask ourselves, "why cannot I live a life like that?" However, Alonso takes it to the next and does what most people would consider insane. But somewhere inside of me, I admire Alonso. He is a man who has lived a great portion of his life and hasn't been satisfied, so he went after his greatest dreams and fantasies.

During my life, I have gone through many phases of interest and pursuit. I went to Washington DC last spring for a political program, and felt so strongly about politics that at some point I felt like it was my calling. I was even to the point where I started calling my senator's office to see if I could get a page position on the senate floor.
However, when I returned to school I began talking to one of my teachers about the experience. When I told her how excited I was about politics, without saying a word I knew that she was disappointed that I had changed so much as to see today's American politics as perfect. So I took off my rose colored glasses and began to see the word as it was, and the mess that corrupts Washington.

In Response to Olivia L:
Should age really matter in life? Should age norms dictate the behavior of people? I don't really think so. The fact that Alonso is in his 50's shouldn't really make a difference, because mind often triumphs over matter.

In Response to PaulH's response to DavidD:
" ironic it is that people might be reading this book because they like reading about knights"
I think that's Cervantes' intention. People pick it up expecting so much less than they actually get.

andrew said...

Alonso Quixano's transformation into Don Quixote is a little shocking. The author says that he liked to read old knight novels about chivalry and romance.The shocking part is how he liked them(and believed in them) so much that those stories and fantasies eventually took hold of him and made him think he could be one. He doesnt really seem like the type to become a knight. There arent really a lot of knights in his time period and he is an impoverished old man. The easy explanation here is that he is insane. He is either oblivious to everything around him that suggests this fact or he simply ignores its presence because he doesnt want to believe he is going mad. Believing in ones own truths can lead to mental and emotional injury when someone "bursts your bubble"and you realize that the world around you and everything you thought you knew is wrong. When I was little and watched sports, I thought it would be really easy to be a professional athlete. Then someone told me it takes 10,000 hours of playing something to be considered at the pro level, and that doesnt guarantee you'll even make a team. That changed the way I thought about sports. Phil, did this whole sledding thing happen in non-winter months? because if so, im pretty sure you dont understand what sledding is or you thought that snow is warm, but good memory though, sounds like it was a painful awakening to the real world.

CharlotteCadow said...

Initially, Alonso Quixano comes off as a man who wants a different life. The sole thrill he gets from his life is when he reads books about imaginary characters on adventures. His mind seems a little foggy, but he is still aware of reality. It is understandable that he wants to leave and live his life, although he is of an advanced age, and I believed he was sane until his experience at the inn when “it assumed in his eyes the semblance of a castle” (8). Don Quixote appears to be seeing everything through a veil that transforms reality into his ideal situation, and “lacking reasonable thought,” the definition of insanity.
In middle school, I had my heart set on attending boarding school. My mom had been a student at Choate, so naturally I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I started filling out forms and signing up for tests. My parents were supportive, but asked me to consider public school as well. After several conversations, I realized they had a point. Hanover tests as well as almost any private school around and there are no additional expenses. Now, I believe they switched my opinion positively, and I am glad I chose Hanover High.

CharlotteCadow said...

In Response to Andrew,

Nice support for your statement that Don Quixote is insane. I like how you really explained how you see insanity. Also, good memory! That is a very severe change in your beliefs.

Natalia said...

In an age where there are no knights Alonso Quixano a fifty-year-old man was living in his imagination where he is a knight. For Alonso his ideals were more real than the physical reality in front of him. Is he insane? Alonso had a different perspective then the people in his time. If Alonso had lived in the era of knighthood he would not be considered insane because people shared his beliefs back then. Even today people in other parts of the world believe in ideas such as magic and witchcraft that we might consider preposterous.
The dangers of Alonso only believing in his own truths are that he could get physically hurt like when he attacked a windmill thinking it was a giant and that he can hurt other people.
Half a year ago I thought it would be hard to transfer from Sharon Academy to Hanover High School because of a belief I had that was different than the reality. My belief was that all the cliques and after school sports would be hard to get involved in. The reality was that transferring to Hanover High School wasn’t that hard. Now that I’m at Hanover I’ve made new friends and I’m happy.

Natalia said...

Charlotte- I agree that in this story that Don Quixote is insane. You support the concept well in your writing. Good quoting and good story about choosing high school's. I also looked at a different school and then decided Hanover High school was a good school for me.

EmilyA said...

Alonso's transformation into Don Quixote is very strange. He is a man in his 50's with no apparent career or family. He enjoys reading his books about chivalry which is understandable because it gives him an excitement that he doesn't have in his own life. I don't think he became insane until he was at the inn. He looked at it and thought it was a castle. Don Quixote wasn't thinking clearly and seemed as though something was masking his own thoughts, like the helmet was masking his face. He doesn't have the ability to see things straight even when they are very obvious. The danger in only believing your own truths is that you lose a true sense of reality. Don made himself believe that the inn was a castle, when in reality it was just an inn. Losing your sense of reality can be hard because people will always view you differently from everyone else.

Until middle school, I was a serious gymnast. I was at the gym 6 days a week, which added up to over 20 hours. Because the sport is so demanding on the body I inevitably got hurt. I spent almost a year doing physical therapy and began training again only to find out my injury wasn't gone. I wanted to stick with it and train through the pain, but my parents thought it would be smarter if I stopped. I eventually decided that it was best to stop even though I loved the sport. It turned out to be a great decision because my foot got better much faster and I was able to start other sports which I now love just as much as I did gymnastics.

In response to Billy: I thought your comment about Alonso being the only one who could break Don's mask from reality was very interesting. I think it is true because so far everyone who Don Quixote has come into contact with he has treated them like a knight would. I wonder if Don Quixote will come to his senses and become Alonso again later on?

Lizzie Weindling said...

Alonso Quixano’s transformation into Don Quixote tells much about Alonso. He is a man in his 50’s, with not much going for him or exciting to live for. He also is not in the prime age to shine as a knight, which makes his transformation even more astonishing. The dullness in his life could be what makes the stories of chivalry and valor even more appealing. He takes something he reads about that he loves, and tries to turn it into his life so he is happy with the life he lives. It is very shocking, but becomes more and more understandable the farther into the books we read. The Don Quixote Alonso turns himself into loves what he does, and searching for more people in need that can use his assistance; and that is what Alonso was missing in his life.
I actually find it admirable that Alonso is able to find something that he loves, and absorb himself in it, but maybe Alonso takes it a little too extremely. He doesn’t care or even notice the strangeness in his actions or even the uncertainty of the people around him. He is so happy being Don Quixote and ‘living’ a life like the ones in his books, that he is completely blindsided. Maybe Don Quixote is a madman, but otherwise he shows courage and determination to not give up on your dreams and to live the life you want to have.

For seven years I went to the same summer camp, Lochearn. The girls there were my sisters, and Lochearn was the place I knew as home. I lived every moment of the year waiting for the next summer. I remember coming back and talking so much about Lochearn that my friends got so annoyed with it that they would ask me not to talk about it. I could never imagine leaving; I didn’t think anyone could, literally. There was a woman at Lochearn, which my fifth year there, we celebrated her 50th year. After my seventh summer, my parents started talking about me trying something new, and I was convinced into going to the summer program at Phillips Exeter Academy. I was so nervous weeks before; I felt that I had betrayed my friends at Lochearn, and the camp itself. I was so nervous going into a place that there would be over 1000 people, and I knew known of them. I had never faced that before, I thought I would never make any friends, or that I might have a roommate and we hated each other. That summer at Exeter turned out to be the best experience I’ve had. If the girls at Lochearn were my sisters, my best friends at Exeter had to be me soul sisters. I could not have imagined having a better summer, or one that could top that. I’m so grateful for being convinced to try something new, and now I cannot wait for new chances to meet new people and go to different places.

Lizzie Weindling said...

In response to Brett:

I find your comment really interesting because we both in one way admire how Alonso is able to change who he is into someone that is exactly what yearns to be. I also never thought of an additional reason to his transformation that could later show up in the text. That makes me a lot more excited to read Don Quixote and to now try and find something in the text that gives a better answer to why Alonso transformed himself.

Sydney S. said...

Alonso Quixano’s transformation into Don Quixote was quite unexpected because he is an older man that seemed to have had a good life. Though I don’t understand why he would want to change his life that drastically, I admire his passion for something he believes in. I don’t think he is insane- I think that he isn’t fully thinking though things before he acts. The danger in only believing in one’s truth is that he is acting to quickly in many circumstances. He isn’t consulting with others before he makes rash choices, which could possibly be putting him in danger. It makes me wonder if he just wanted the glory of being a knight or if he actually was interested in helping people who needed a knight. When he changes in to Don Quixote, its very quick and does it almost on impulse. My thoughts are that maybe there is another reason for his transformation other than just wanting to be a knight.

Memory: This reminds me of when I learned to surf this summer. I thought that it was going to be impossible to stand up on a moving board in the middle of the ocean. I honestly was convinced it took people weeks to be able to stand up. Then was proven wrong by my instructor. He taught me that you just have to learn how to get up, place your feet and the rest would be easy. He was right and it only took me 20 minutes in the water to start getting up a little at a time.

Response: I disagree with Emily. I believe that he started acting crazy as soon as he transformed but I do agree that being at the inn definitely added to it and made it much more obvious. I think that it is a very good point that Emily did make about loosing your sense of reality can cause people to look at you differentially. When people see him they must have all sorts of thoughts running through there minds.

Alexis Williams said...

Alonso Quixano has a strange obsession with books on romance and chivalry. He’s absorbed every last drop of brave white nights and damsels in distress to the point where they have overflowed onto his reasonable thinking and hold on real life. Alonso adopted the name Don Quixote believing it felt more knightly and powerful. He abandoned his old life and home, with only an old horse, and a poorly fashioned suit of armor made from scraps around the house. The new Don Quixote then set off to make the world a better place. The question is, had Alonso gone insane, or has he stepped into his make-believe world, unable to return to reality. It can be dangerous to only believe what we personally think. Don Quixote thought he was a hero by bashing in an innocent man’s head, and look how well he turned out. I can remember a time when I thought I knew what was cool. When I was little, I thought Scooby Doo was the coolest show on the planet. Everyday I carried my Scooby Doo lunch box to school and wore my Scooby Doo hat. I thought he was the greatest talking, mystery solving, dog the world had seen, that is until one faithful day, an older boy came up to me and plainly stated Scooby Doo was for little kids. I felt so ashamed, that I forever hid my lunchbox and never wore my hat again.

Alexis Williams said...

In response to David White's comment:

I agree that Don Quixote may in fact be insane. He no longer has a grasp on reality, yet I also believe that he could just be playing some sort of game. His obsession with his books may have caused him to go a little overboard, but I can also think of many people who have become extremely obsessed with something, that they seem a bit insane.

Catherine C. said...

Although Alonso Quixana's transformation into Don Quixote may seem like a impulsive decisions, it's actually the buildup of years and years of reading pastoral, romantic, and eventually brain-rotting tales of chivalry. By paying attention to nothing but the idealised world of lords and ladies and knights errant, Alonso's reality is twisted and his new purpose in life is to protect and serve the innocent masses. This is not a slow transformation, however; it took him about 8 days to come up with the name "Don Quixote". Does this obsession translate into insanity? Well, my conclusion at this point is that we may never know. Don has certainly convinced other people that he's insane (his family, servants, and the innkeeper), but one could argue as well that just about everyone Jesus Christ met thought he was crazy, too. It's true that while Jesus performed miracles, Don usually just worsens the situation he meant to ameliorate (the whipping of Andrew) and causes general havoc (the incident at the watering trough), he means well, and isn't it really the thought that counts? That's the danger of believing in only your own truth. Every action we have affects someone and something in one way or another, and if we only take our own beliefs into consideration, we will never know if we are causing others pain. Don is a perfect example of this kind of ignorance.
One of the clearer examples in my mind of a time when I was corrected by someone else is just about every Friday at Council. About 80% of the time, the opinion I have when the speaker is first making their authorship speech is completely turned around when it's time to vote. This actually something I have to work on as a voting member; developing my own moral code, deciding and stick to what I will and won't support.
In response to Charlotte: I know exactly what you're saying! Just recently, I realized how much my parents and elementary school teachers have influenced the way I think. I think we're at a point in our lives where we need to reevaluate this information, and decide which of it we want to keep on believing in and what we are ready to change our minds about. Good metaphor!

celliott28 said...

Alonso Quixano was a normal landowner who read too many books. Now in becoming Don Quixote he has lost all sanity. Thinking windmills are giants and calling Sancho insane for telling Don Quixote that they are in fact windmills, one of these times he is going to realize that he is doing more are than good. Although it is funny it is also sad to think that this man is killing innocent lives just because he is having a midlife crisis.

celliott28 said...

In Response to Brett M -
I agree that although his transformation was due to books, it could also have been because of something else and hopefully that reason will show up later in the book

Nick said...

Alonso Quixano’s transformation into Don Quixote is fueled by his imagination after reading too many chivalric romances with knights being the main characters. Alonso believes that the world of knight errants is real, and a realistic idea. When he decides to become “Don Quixote”, the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur and disappear altogether. To others, he is considered insane, but in his own mind he is living his dreams; how can that be considered crazy? Although he hasn’t had any misfortune at this point, Don Quixote is risking his sanity, any that he has left, by believing only his truths. There can be a great downfall by doing this because after reading books of knights, his mind has been corrupted thinking that objects and events are more than they are in reality.
Billy, your check and balances example was really creative and strengthened your point. You picked a good quote and made a great connection that I hadn’t made before.

Kelly said...

Alonso Quixano's transformation into Don Quixote is an example of how powerful a weapon an idea can be. Stalin once said, “Ideas are more powerful than guns.” I feel that this is true, especially in Don Quixote's case. The idea of knight-errantry and chivalry took what was initially an eccentric individual and turned him into a delusional man.
I also believe there is a lot of danger in believing only one's truths. As seen in the play The Crucible, believing one's truths too much can be extremely dangerous. Abigail Williams starts to believe her “truths” that she is being possessed by other's demonic spirits, and this leads to much devastation. In Don Quixote's case, others suffer as well. When he left the boy being whipped, the farmer flogged the boy even more severely than before Don Quixote had interfered.