1) the Mario Vargas Llosa telling the story is obviously older than the “Marito” who is living it . . . how would you describe the tone? what is the attitude of the narrator to the young man he was?
According to Google, Llosa was 41 when he wrote Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, which would help to define the sort of relationship between the 18-year-old and him. From a reader’s point of view, the tone for the Mario chapters seem quite descriptive and there isn’t really any underlying emotion behind it. However, when we were talking about it in class today, it would make sense that he might be a little sentimental over particular moments or emphasise certain parts of his story that was important to him – whether he’s intentional about it or not.
2) if every other chapter, basically, represents one of Pedro Camacho’s serials —if they didn’t happen, in other words, what is the point of spending so much time on these characters/events/conflicts?
Initially it might be to keep the readers updated on the serials and give them an opportunity to get to know the scriptwriter in ways that Mario’s encounters with him don’t show us. While the Mario-chapters are plenty descriptive and tell us about Camacho’s character and the issue he’s currently working through, the serial-chapters do add an extra intertextual layer of context behind the events that are happening. Personally, I find it quite amusing to be confused with what’s happening in his serials, just as everyone else is – including the characters of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, because it provides such a refreshing and absurd point-of-view into Camacho’s issues that you would have to infer yourself as the reader. Like some sort of first-hand experience.
3) If a story is basically, “one time, in one place, something happened” then it’s not really literature —it’s journalism or history or maybe even just gossip. Literature is usually thought to express something timeless —something true in a bigger sense. What might this novel be saying about life?
[Rough thinking, not actual structured answers to an essay question] Something about the versatility of Mario’s situation? But then again incest isn’t that popular (to my knowledge at least). Maybe the pains of love? Wanting someone but things being in between of you acquiring that love? Maybe the incest is a time stamp.