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Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze various interactions between characters in the novel Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes, in regards to their socioeconomic characteristics. By analyzing the statements made by the characters and the amount of success with which they communicate can reveal personal information such as level of social class in addition to possible reasons why a character might be in their present situation. This paper will use the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin to analyze the novel - in particular, the ideas of heteroglossia and polyphony. Polyphony refers to the existence of multiple voices in a novel that emphasize storytelling distributed between those voices. Heteroglossia, a similar concept, refers to the variety in perspectives or styles of speech that are found within a literary work. Using these ideas, three main episodes are analyzed: the first episode at the inn, the episode of the burning of the books, and the episode with the galley slaves, in addition to a section comprised of scenes that explore connections between narrators and authors, within and outside of the text. These episodes demonstrate how gender and the background of each character affects the occupation and education level they have, and it seems that even in speech, illiterate characters have trouble communicating with highly educated ones. In conclusion, the polyphony and heteroglosia in this novel are the results of certain social factors, and the diversity within and between characters is what contributes to the rich experiences of Don Quijote.

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