Prof. Steven Alvarez
English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures
12 September 2011
Homodiegetic Narrative as Seen In “She lived in a Story,” by Guillermo Samperio
In “She Lives in a Story”, written by Guillermo Samperio, Samperio’s use of character and narration is quite capturing, but at the same time, very confusing. Samperio engages the reader by creating characters and stories within his protagonist and by putting himself into the narration. “In a homodiegetic narrative, the story is told by a (homodiegetic) narrator who is also one of story’s acting characters. The prefix ‘homo-‘ points to the fact that the individual who acts as a narrator is also a character on the level of action” (Jahn, N1.10). For example, Samperio introduces Guillermo Segovia, a writer, who becomes inspired by the idea of an architect having similar workmanship to create a building as does a writer who creates a story. In this way, Samperio becomes enthused to write an account about a character named Ofelia and then Ofelia creates an account about the man who is writing a narrative about her. Samperio writes, through Ofelia:
It could be, Guillermo Segovia, the writer, who at the same time lives as another Guillermo Segovia. Guillermo Segovia in Guillermo Samperio, each inside the other, a single body. I insist on thinking that he writes on his typewriter precisely what I write, word upon word, only one discourse and two worlds. (Samperio, 60)
As Samperio gives Ofelia power as a narrator in his story, I feel that he intends to remind his readers that all the characters somehow unify and relate to the one narrator, who is Samperio himself. I perceived this because Samperio does not start his short story with the beginning of Ofelia’s introduction; instead, Samperio starts it with the introduction of himself, evident through the making of a character whose name is also Guillermo, who is, as well, a writer. Is this a coincidence? I believe it is not, and this is evident when in the story Samperio says, “Guillermo Segovia in Guillermo Samperio, each inside the other, a single body” (60). Now, even though Samperio does not use the pronoun “I”, he is, I feel, a part of the story he has written because he uses his name and profession to depict the protagonist and then says that He and Samperio are “a single body” (60) Also, “She Lives in a Story” has homodiegetic-like text because Samperio does not define whether or not Ofelia is a character of Segovia’s narrative, or if Segovia is a character in Ofelia’s story, because even though Samperio starts off detailing Guillermo Segovia’s story, in the end of the narrative Ofelia and Guillermo are both together in the same room:
“The woman stands and tries to force her 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 movement of his legs, he finally achieves lucidity. He stops next to me, in silence accepting our fatal destiny, he takes my hand and I am willing” (Samperio, 62)
Leaving the audience to wonder if Samperio is a character in someone else’s story; just like Ofelia and Segovia are characters in his.
Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 18 October 2011. <http://www.uni\koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>.
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” Trans. Gregory\Rabassa and J.S. Bernstein. Collected Stories. Harper Perennial. 219. Print.