Linguistic Style and Point of View in Lazarillo de Tormes
In the past few decades one of the features scholars have discussed most about Lazarillo de Tormes is point of view. The duality of Lazarillo-character/Lázaro-narrator is firmly entrenched in Lazarillo scholarship and, consequently, in the teaching of the novel. It is a commonplace to speak of Lazarillo as a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a trickster who wills the reader into sympathizing with him and then at the end exposes his debased character and the reader as a fool (see especially Mancing). But questions remain regarding both reader and narrator/character point of view in the work. Do readers hear the protagonist’s voice until the end, when the narrator takes over, as Deyermond (79) suggests? What kind of character is the Lazarillo whom Lázaro describes? Does Lazarillo interact with his world until the buldero chapter when he only observes it, as Rico (35), Reed (48) and others write? Is Lazarillo at first a passive object in his world who later becomes an active subject through his adoption of deceit (Avalle-Arce 223)? Or is he not the subject of the action at all, but rather the object of his master’s attention or point of view as Smith (94), following Castro (146–47), asserts? What is the reader’s position toward Lazarillo and Lázaro? Does the reader assimilate Lazarillo’s words as his own and also adopt the position of Vuestra Merced, as Ife believes (95, 105)?