Monday, June 13th, 2011...6:23 pm

Guillermo Sampiero’s “She Lived in a Story”

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Guillermo Sampiero, author of “She Lived in a Story” creates a matrix, a world in which his characters are enveloped and are given a life inside a story within a story. In order to establish a base point of reference Sampiero introduces an embedded character or hyponarrative.

A matrix narrative is a narrative containing an ’embedded’ or ‘hyponarrative’. The term ‘matrix’ derives from the Latin word mater (mother, womb) and refers to “something within which something else originates” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). In linguistics, a ‘matrix sentence’ is one that embeds a subordinate sentence. Ordinarily, both the transition to a hyponarrative, its termination and the return to the matrix narrative are explicitly signaled in a text; occasionally, however, a text closes on a hyponarrative without explicitly resuming the matrix narrative (see example in subgraphic [c] below). One could call this a dangling matrix narrative. The systematic opposite to this would be an uninitialized hyponarrative (example?). (Jain N2.4.1)

In this case it is Guillermo Segovia is our hyponarrative. Through Segovia’s eyes we are given a view of a matrix characterized by Segovia, but created by Sampiero. Segovia, a somewhat pompous writer then creates his own view of a world, which he can create inside of Sampiero’s matrix. Inside this world Segovia’s own hyponarrative, Ofelia is created and charged with giving the reader an outlook on the world that Segovia has created, which is in actuality still all within the original matrix created by Sampiero.  Inside Segovia’s world Ofelia writes “I write that he writes a story that I live in.” With this simple admonition everything changes. Ofelia is clearly stating that she is aware of Segovia on one level or another. She is an aware she is a character even as she pens the author of her existence. However I wonder, at this point, does Segovia recognize that he himself is a character? Why does Ofelia write that he writes her story? Although Segovia is writing the story about Ofelia she is aware that she is a character and even of Segovia himself. There is no indication that Segovia shares that enlightenment and therefore very well be authored by Ofelia. It is because Sampiero is proving a crucial point.  She as a hyponarrative can be juxtaposed with Segovia to accomplish any function that Sampiero writes. Any other embedded characters that Sampiero creates can also be employed in this manner. However Ofelia neither Segovia can ever create a world outside of Sampiero’s general framework. It is within this framework or matrix that Segovia and Ofelia live. Within that framework there may be any number of levels of discourse between Ofelia and Segovia for the position of second and third degree narrator. However neither Segovia or Ofelia or any other hyponarrative may ever attain the position that Sampiero holds as creator of the matrix. There are three levels of narration occurring here in the story. Heterodiegetic narration occurs but the idea is played with similar to a game of ‘hot potatoes’.  Not only does the narration shift there is also a physical change in writing between narrators. Segovia’s story concerning Ofelia is written in italics while Ofelia/Sampiero’s story involving Segovia is in regular print. There are many different sub tactics of narration that are being employed by Sampiero. Here Ofelia and Segovia are ontologically separated yet are very much influencing forces on each other’s realties. Ofelia has a feeling of being watched that haunts her. Segovia is haunted by what himself as author of Ofelia has scripted of her. Very philosophical questions are being examined in regards to creation and purpose. Fictional characters like Segovia reacting to the discovery of an imaginary world. Using character discourse, like between Ofelia and Segovia, and focalized narration to view this intricate framework. Sampiero presents a fantastic view of narration “She Lived in a Story.” Simpler stories are less challenging to read, however I believe reading a story like this a peeling back the layers  provides an even more satisfactory feeling upon completion of the story. Once you can have that realization that you have figured out the author’s intent and then to realize that the ambiguity was part of the beauty of the story unfolding, well to me that is a makings of a great author and a well-crafted story.



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