Narrative Solution in Samperio’s Eyes
Aside from being a great example of variations of focalization, Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story” is also a healthy example of different types of narrative situation. A narrative situation is described as the patterns or arrangements of narrative features, like who does what and when and why; basically it’s story telling. Throughout Samperio’s story there are a couple of different characters and a couple of different viewpoints that we have to follow in order to understand the story, there are a couple of different forms of narrative situations as well. One main form of narrative situation that is used throughout the story is the authorial narrative. “During the evening hours, the writer Guillermo Segovia gave a lecture at the Preparatory Academy of Iztapalapa. The students of esthetics, under the direction of the young poet Israel Castellanos, were enthusiastic about the detailed presentation by Segovia” (Samperio 54). This would be the first two lines of the whole story and a perfect example of an authorial narrative. An authorial narrative is told by a narrator that is not in the story, doesn’t pop up as a character in the story and his sole purpose is to narrate what is happening to the characters in the story, which is why this first line is such a good example. The narrator is doing his job by just dictating to us what the character, Guillermo Segovia, is doing; he gives lectures at the Preparatory Academy and a good description of how the students feel about the presentation. The narrator never enters the story as a character either; he is just there to explain to us the events of the story. The narrator doesn’t only explain the events that are happening though, he explains everything that is happening to the characters in the story to give us a full and round understanding for the story; for example he explains to us the nervousness that Segovia feels when a student questions his work. We also get a very descriptive view of what is going on in the story because we are seeing it from the “eyes above” if you will. What I mean by this is that the authorial narrator, the narrator that isn’t a character in the story, sees everything that’s happening in the story because he is not a character. A character in the story would only see what they see and not what any other character sees, so we wouldn’t receive a complete understanding of all the events and happenings in the story, we would only see what that character sees. With the authorial narrator though, we see and understand the view points from all the characters.
One of the reasons this story is so interesting is because of all the changes in the structure as we read the story; the changes in focalization is one example and the different narrative situations both help to add a sense of excitement and a feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next. The narrative situation changes a little bit when Segovia starts writing the story about Ofelia, for more than one reason; a different type of narrative situation settles in. “She became a little frightened, and instinctively began to walk faster. She rubbed her hands together, looked toward the trees in front of her and then all the way down the avenue that faded into the foggy mist” (Samperio 58). The narrative situation has changed into a figural narrative during this part of Segovia’s “She Lived in a Story” which is when we see the story through the characters eyes, but this isn’t the only reason that it’s changed from an authorial narrative. Segovia has turned into the narrator of the story because it is now his story that he is writing, and for the narrative to be an authorial narrative, the narrator cannot be a character in the story. That’s one reason that the narrative situation had to change, but the way that we are now viewing the story also has changed; we now see and feel what Ofelia sees and feels as we go on through the rest of the story. In this quote she is walking down the dark street with this feeling that there are eyes upon her and we get to view the story in her eyes now. We get to feel the fear and shivers that she receives from having to walk down this road all by herself and the regret she feels because she didn’t let those people give her a ride so she wouldn’t be alone. We go through Segovia’s rendition of “She Lived in a Story” through the eyes of Ofelia and follow her wherever she goes and abide by her decisions, although she is not the narrator. Segovia is still the narrator, but he has put us in the mind of his character, Ofelia. Even until the end of the story when the two characters meet, we still are in the mind of Ofelia and go along with her when she decides to take her characters hand and accept their fatal fate together. It’s an interesting change in pace of the story that keeps the interest and excitement there while reading and much better than having just one point of view or one narrator throughout the story.
Samperio, Guillermo. “She Lived in a Story.” New Writing From Mexico (1992): 54-62.