Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Comparative Literature

Advisor

Nicholas Taylor

Keywords

Comedy, Fiction, Humor, Novel, Picaresque, Satire

Subject Areas

Fine arts; Folklore; American literature

Abstract

Dating back to sixteenth century Spain, the picaresque novel has been a widely celebrated form of fiction. The comic antihero, or the rogue, of such novels has lived on through literature, testing readers’ sympathy as he barrels his way through adventures, swindling, and being swindled. Julian Forester in The Orange of Seville continues the picaresque tradition. Twenty years old, obnoxious, and arrogant, the young American travels to Sevilla, Spain for a study abroad program. However, he has only one goal in mind: to write the next great American novel. When he arrives, his outlandish behavior creates trouble as his life entangles with the lives of several characters. First, he meets Rogelio Diaz, the unfortunate airline steward, who struggles to find work after being indirectly fired by Julian. In turn, we follow Rogelio as he meets further misfortune. Then comes Maribel Reyes, the host mother, who houses Julian and finds his outlandish behavior a constant nuisance. Finding no other alternative to curb Julian’s sharp tongue, Maribel must outwit him to keep her house in order. However, it is when Julian meets Quique Flores, swindler and drug dealer, when the stakes are raised. In an elaborate scheme to earn more money selling hash, Quique manipulates an ignorant Julian into working for him. Believing he is an employee in a mobile advertisement service, Julian unknowingly becomes an accomplice. In a climax only fitting for a picaresque tale, all the characters arrive in Feria where their plots untangle in comic fashion.

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