We live busy lives and struggle to keep up with the pace at which the world is moving. Not only do we want a job, a car, and a house, but we aim at having a well-paying job, a latest model car, and a huge house. Often, we plunge so deep into our desire to have material things that we forget the needs of our souls. This is what has motivated various authors to write and express their revolt against the realities that they do not like.
Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha about four hundred years ago. In his book, he criticized the inequality that existed among people at the time, the tendency of many to pay greater attention to the physical appearance than to the inner beauty of an individual, the vanity, the cruelty, the search only for fame and glory. The author presented his belief that people should not get lost in the glamour of flashy lights, fame, and riches. With his book, Cervantes aimed at reminding his fellow citizens that there is something more important than the material well-being. He strove to persuade his readers that what they should aim at is being good people and living righteous lives. This, according to the author, would bring them genuine joy and happiness.
Today, four centuries after Cervantes and his novel, the lessons of Don Quixote de la Mancha still sound applicable and helpful. Sad as it may be, many of the problems Cervantes rebelled against are now present in our society. We have developed our economies, achieved a higher standard of living, become richer, but in other more important aspects of our lives we have remained unchanged: we are still blinded by the physical appearance of things, there is still inequality among people.
I believe that Cervantes’ novel teaches us how to live better and more meaningful lives. In DonQuixote de la Mancha, I found lessons that all of us can use and apply to our everyday lives.
Hristina Borisova, ’07 Bulgaria
Majors: Economics and Business, International Relations
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar