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Summary Chapter 1

There is a gentleman that lives in the village of La Mancha. Three quarters of his income was spent on food. The rest went for fine clothing which he wore on holidays. All other times, he wore homespun clothing. He had a middle-aged housekeeper, a teenage niece, and a boy who worked the fields. The gentleman himself was fifty years old. He was strong but very thin. He rose early every morning and was a great sportman. He was called Quexana.

Quexana read books about chivalry in his leisure time, which was plentiful as he neglected his sports and property maintenance. The topic became such an obsession, he sold some of his property to acquire more books about the subject. He particularly admired the works of Feliciano de Silva.

Quexana becomes mentally ill and spends his time trying to unravel the meaning of Silva’s words. He did not like all the wounds Don Belianis took, for he would have been deformed by scars. He liked how Silva ended his book with the promise of more adventures. Quexana was tempted to continue the tales himself.

He often argued with others, particularly the curate, about who was the best knight. Quexana was so absorbed by the tales of knights that he rarely slept, and this contributed to his insanity. He even started to believe the impossible tales about knights slaying monsters.

Quexana decides to become a knight himself—to serve out justice and face many dangers for the glory of immortal fame. He imagines the many rewards that will be piled upon him and puts his plan into action.

He cleans up his great grandfather’s rusted armor, which is covered in mildew. As it lacks a closed helmet, he makes a half helmet from paste board. This does not survive under the whacks of his sword, so he reinforces it with iron bars. However, he does not test its strength again.

He spends a great deal of time deliberating on what he should call his noble steed, for it needed a name worthy of its status. He finally decides on Rocinante. He takes another eight days in deciding what to call himself. He settles on Don Quixote of La Mancha.

The next thing he needs is a lady to fall in love with, for every knight needed a lady that inspired his heart to perform courageous feats. He fantasizes about defeating a giant, enslaving it, and sending it as a present to serve his lady love. He remembers a girl he used to love, Aldonza Lorenzo. He decides to bestow upon her a new name, Dulcinea del Toboso.

Miguel de Cervantes