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Abstract

Cervantes uses his most well-recognized novel Don Quijote in order to show a societal level critique of the Spanish society of his time. In the galley slave episode he shows the society from the perspective of the most marginalized people of the population: the criminals. They exemplify power and resistance through various social and individual levels. The galley slaves demonstrate resistance in the criminal justice system with their language and Cervantes shows this same resistance through constructing the actions of the episode as metaphorical images. In order to further explore the galley slaves’ resistance I understood the most specific facets of resistance to be divided in two main parts: the society and the individual. This analysis starts with the most macro component of resistance and ends with the most micro component of resistance. Furthermore, I analyzed the society through the components of systemic influences, public opinion, power, and oppression; I analyzed the individual through the components of agency, identity, perception, position, and humanity. The theoretical framework of symbolic power postulates a way in which hierarchies are reinforced at the societal level. Bourdieu developed his concept of symbolic power as the tacit knowledges that are used within cultural and social spaces to create hierarchies of domination (Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois). Even though we have a civilization with a multitude of hierarchies of power and many forms of oppression, each person has their own perception of the world. This perception functions as a form of power and reclaiming for each individual independent of social position and status.

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