13 June 2011
A Gaze within A Gaze
In Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story: the point of view of the narrator is at a constant shift changing from one narrator to another. In terms of Manfred Jahn, the focalization of the focalizer changes according to what is being focalized. By this it is meant that the focalizer, who is the character from whose point of view the story is told comes together with what is being focalized, meaning what is being presented to the audiences and together these two form a focalization, which refers to how the narrative will be presented. In Samperio’s story we have a switch between an external and an internal focalization of the narrative. An external focalization is when events occurring are presented by a narrator while an internal focalization is when the events are presented from the character’s point of view. In this quote by Ofelia we can see this clash of internal and external focalization,
“I’m inside the gaze. I’m living inside a stare. I’m part of a way of seeing. Something forces me to walk; the fog has descended and its murky fingers reach out toward the windows. I ‘m a silhouette from the past sticking to the walls. My name is Ofelia and I’ m opening the wooden gate to my house.” (Samperio 59)
Ofelia, who is the character made up by a character says that she is being watched. She feels as if she is being followed and a stare is fixed upon her. She claims that she is inside a gaze, that she isn’t being followed (at least not physically) by someone but that she is stuck in a gaze of a person who has their eye on her and watch her every move. She says she is a part of a way of seeing meaning that she has become a significant part of being seen. It seems as if she is being directed as to what to do. The fact that she is talking to herself telling herself to open the gate and that she is a silhouette and stating her own name makes her seem like she has no control of herself. Here we can see the external focalization of Guillermo Segovia who writes this passage describing Ofeila and what she is doing yet he is using an internal focalization because we are getting the point of view of Ofeila in the situation. The entire focus of the story changes when we get this point of view of Ofeila. The story is strong and flows with the external view of Segovia but once Ofeila’s view point enters the story makes so much more sense and the concept og the focalizer (Ofeila) working with what is being focalized (her being lost in a gaze) and we get the change in focalization (the narrative). The story that seems to be Segovia’s story now becomes Ofeila’s story.
Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story” tells a story within a story. Made up character of Guillermo Segovia tells the tale of his made up character Ofeila who in return turns Segovia himself into a character. Through this circle of narration the point of view of the characters is also at a constant change. Like in this quote as said by Ofeila, the readers are introduced to collective focalization. Collective focalization as defined by Manfred Jahn in Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative, is “focalization through either plural narrators (‘we narrative’) or a group of characters (‘collective reflectors’)” (N.3.2.4). In this passage the characters of Ofeila and Segovia are met and the narration turns from his and her view to their view and together they became one view.
“The woman stands and tries to force her thin lips into a smile. When Guillermo realizes that he is not facing any danger, his fear subsides, leaving his body slightly numb. Without thinking about it, he decides to move closer; with this moment of his legs, he finally achieves lucidity. He stops next to me; in silence, accepting out fatal destiny, he takes my hand and I am willing.” (Samperio 62)
The woman being Ofeila finally meets with Segovia her creator. He reaches out to her and sees she is no danger to him. He feels a sense of ease as he gets even closer to her and without thinking reaches Ofeila’s side and stands next to her in silence. He puts out his hand to hers and accepts his fatal destiny. The point of view of the characters of the story takes a turn when they story changes from Segovia’s perspective to Ofeila’s. From the start of the story where he was writing about him and her about herself now we have a sense of both the characters point of view through their interaction with one another. The weird fact about the two characters is that these two meet and without a single thought the two come together and vanish. It’s amazing how through this passage readers can learn that there is a strong connection between a creator and his creation. Segovia and Ofeila were each other creation and they shared a bond that came out when the two met at the end of the story. A great deal of trust is built between a them, it seems as if they already knew each other so well that when they met everything seemed to be okay. They trusted each other and decided to vanish together. The fact that the narration went from external to internal and then to collective shows that a character’s point of view is essential to a good story.
Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” Poems, Plays, and
Prose: A Guide to the Theory of Literary Genres. Cologne: U of Cologne Press,
Samperio, Guillermo. “She Lived in a Story.” New Works from Mexico. Ed. Reginald Gibbons.
Evanston: TriQuarterly, 1992. Print.