Masterly Pursuits #2: Alejandro Ehrenberg

[Part of an ongoing series on Master’s Essay candidates that begins here.]

  • Working title/topic of your essay?

Don Quijote, or the Book of Changes”

  • Texts used?

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha

  • Why this topic?

The characters in Cervantes’s novel undergo a series of changes, sometimes subtle, sometimes abrupt. The conversations they hold with one another—especially Don Quijote and Sancho—seem to play a role in these changes. In the GI program, people talk with each other and, hopefully, change. So, on the one hand, I am interested in Don Quijote as a lens that will help me understand my experience at the GI. On the other hand, I simply love the book and wanted to reread it and write about it.

  • What’s the most interesting/random/funny fact you’ve discovered so far?

Cervantes insists on calling his protagonist “crazy.” Why this insistence? Is he trying to dissuade the reader from admiring and even imitating Don Quijote?

  • What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most excited for?

Having a conversation about a topic that’s important to me with a group of intelligent human beings.

  • What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most dreading?

I do not feel any dread yet.

  • What do you hope to do after graduating St. John’s?

I hope to be fruitful and multiply, fathering numerous children (with my wife). I also hope to become a diplomat.

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