The deconstructionist point of view, for example, would insist upon the essentially fictive quality of all texts, regardless of their ostensibly 'fictive' or 'natural' status. In this regard, the deconstructionists (as readers) are at precisely the other end of the spectrum from Don Quijote and, say, Palomeque. The former represent a totally 'faithless' reading of texts, a reading that is incessantly aware of the artificiality of all texts, of all 'text'; Don Quijote and Palomeque, on the other hand, represent a totally 'faithful' reading, one that is lacking in critical distance and that sees no difference between 'text' and 'life'. It is interesting -and rather paradoxical- to note that the deconstructionist view leads (by a road coming from the opposite direction) to the same conclusion, i. e., that there is no difference between 'text' and 'life', that there is literally «nothing outside the text».
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo, ed. Josefa A. Zamudio de Predan and María Hortensia Lacau (Buenos Aires: Editorial Kapelusz, 1965). This fine edition is based on the 1914 «Clásicos Castellanos» edition of Francisco Rodríguez Marín. Carlos Blanco Aguinaga makes this point with reference to Cipión y Berganza as well as to Rinconete y Cortadillo. See his article, «Cervantes y la picaresca. Notas sobre dos tipos de realismo». NRFH, XI (1957), 334 and 338.
In the words of Vidriera: «... lo que menos ha menester la farsa es personas bien nacidas; galanes sí, gentiles hombres y de expeditas lenguas». The last qualification is exquisitely apt in the case of Rinconete and Cortadillo.
Blanco Aguinaga states that Rinconete and Cortadillo have come together by chance: «... se encuentran al acaso». I disagree. The meeting is as portentous, in the original sense of the word, as the sudden gift of speech so mysteriously awarded Cipión and Berganza. In both instances the author himself takes full credit for these «fateful» events. Rinconete's «... imagino que no sin misterio nos ha juntado aquí la suerte...» is accompanied by a wink of complicity that Cervantes directs to the reader. See «Cervantes y la picaresca», 337.
Cervantes was not interested in the material success of his two heroes. They are never shown enjoying the monetary fruits of their labors. When they return the sacristan's purse, not a maravedí is missing. Even when they eat, they do so in the communal setting of Monipodio's patio.
Recall the following exchange between Rinconete and Cortadillo: «... si yo no me engaño y el ojo no me miente, otras gracias tiene vuesa merced secretas, y no las quiere manifestar.-Sí tengo -respondió el pequeño-, pero no son para en público, como vuesa merced ha muy bien apuntado» (3).
Octavio Paz, El laberinto de la soledad (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1967), 184.
Thomas R. Hart is correct in saying that in Rinconete y Cortadillo, as is so often the case with Cervantes, «differences in attitudes towards language and style serve as a key to differences in moral attitude». See his excellent study, «Versions of Pastoral in three Novelas ejemplares». BHS, LVIII (1981), 287.
It is a key episode because its mechanics of verbal comedy and its diplomatic caution are an exact replica of the first meeting between Rinconete and Cortadillo, as well as the subsequent meeting of the boys with Monipodio. (By «réplica» I mean the repetition of a formal pattern). Of this episode Ronald G. Keightley says: «In all respects... this passage faces both ways and constitutes an unmistakable turning-point in the novella's structure». See his important essay, «The Narrative Structure of Rinconete y Cortadillo» in R. B. Tate, ed., Essays on Narrative Fiction in the Iberian Peninsula in Honour of Frank Pierce. (Oxford: The Dolphin Book Co., 1982), 42.
Galdós, who so thoroughly absorbed Cervantes' style and sense of irony, saw to it that Fortunata always remained something of a child in the reader's mind by virtue of her linguistic awkwardness. Her verbal lapses seem to annul her moral ones. For some pertinent remarks about the «infantile world» of Rinconete y Cortadillo, see Joaquín Casalduero, Sentido y forma de las Novelas ejemplares (Madrid: Gredos, 1962), 114.