A famous Spanish novel written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century is considered one of the most influential works in Spanish literature and literature canon as a whole. A Story of the Stones written by Barry Hughart in the second half of the 20th century presents an alternative perspective and completely different settings in an American literary canon as the author chooses the settings in ancient China. Both of the pieces represent American and European literary canons. Moreover, the two pieces present entirely different perspectives in their works too. Thus, one can note a number of differences and similarities and unite or dissimilate any commonly perceived literary piece by examining the two works written in different époques.
Initially, Don Quixote was published in two volumes between 1605 and 1615. Some literature critiques consider the piece as the founding work of the Western literature. Also, it is considered as one of the first canonically written novels in a literary history. The work of Cervantes appeared to be one of the most impactful in the literary community. The fact an be proved by a number of references to such classics as Alexandre Duma and Mark Train. Thus, the piece requires a close look and analysis to comprehend such attitude and plenty of attention around the piece.
To understand the main features of Don Quixote, one has to pay attention to themes, motives and symbols included in the piece. Overall, Don Quixote comprises of three different sections that enrich the possibilities of narration to be delivered to a reader. The first section in the piece covers the first expedition of Don Quixote whereas the second section includes historical fashion that can be evidenced by a number of documented daily events. The third section is written in a manner of a traditional novel of that time. In other words, it is filled with a character’s development and emotional and thematic content.
In the center of the novel, the author places a particular human experience. One of the paramount themes in characters’ lives is the attitude towards honor. Some of the characters seem to express concern for their personal honor and other appear to reject such attitude. Especially, it is noted in the relationship between Dorothea and Ferdinand and the duke and the duchess (Cervantes Saavedra et al., 1620). As a common theme of that times, the characters experience a romance. Romantic love prevails as an important part of matrimonial commitment that can be proved by Theresa’s desire to see her husband in a court. The author manages to express the feeling of content during that time. Characters spend quite a number of time on horses that were a common practice at that time. In general, the human experience in Don Quixote revolves around the reflection on the historical context of the époque of that time and the author’s perception of those ideals and the ability to project them into a literary piece.
Unlike Miguel Cervantes, the author of “The Story of the Stone” Barry Hughart reflects on the époque of ancient China. The book is the first volume of the five-volume series that focuses on the story of a Chinese family. Barry Hughart, originally American, attempts to describe the lifestyle of a wealthy Chinese family. Comparing to Don Quixote that mirrors European culture of that time, The Story of the Stone brings a reader to a different time and settings overwhelmed with a number of differences between Western and Asian culture. Literature as a whole and these two pieces in particular help a reader to comprehend a polarization between East and West, taking into account a social background of the characters and the difference in the course of a historical development.
Despite the differences between the pieces, a reader may find a number of similarities that are common to both cultures. One of the common themes in both pieces is the love. In “The Story of the Stone” the relationship proliferates between the two characters, Bao-yu, and Dai-yu. The fate of the characters and their family ties demonstrate the chain of obstacles a couple has to go through in order to save the relationship. The author manages to stress an attention to the perception of love in Eastern cultures, which results in a different personal experience.
Besides interpersonal relationships, readers are to understand a profound social background rooted in the family Jia (Hughart, 1988). The author centers his attention on a wealthy Chinese family. There, one can note the difference in a gender roles in Eastern cultures. Also, another important point is the attitude towards the hereditary power that is only to be given to males. Also, the narrative includes the relationship between family members, children, and servants. Such a social structure demonstrates the similarities between the wealthy European families described in Don Quixote and in “The Story of the Stone”.
To conclude, both pieces remain of a considerable attention of literary critiques. However, when one looks at the common and uncommon features in a human’s experiences, there are plenty of similarities that serve a bright example of intercultural communications throughout different epochs. Bothe of these narrative pieces form a platform for a literary discussion by examining the narratives and the authors’ backgrounds and reflecting on a social context when the pieces were written and aimed to project.