: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books.
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The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions. As the man speculates about where his train might be, he feels a touch guardaghjas his shoulder and turns to see a small old man dressed like a railroader and carrying a lantern.
The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. Awareness of the absurd human condition can come at any moment, but it is most likely to happen when, ek confronted by the meaninglessness of hectic daily routine, he or she asks guqrdagujas question “Why?
Like most of Arreola’s stories, The Switchman’ can be interpreted in a variety of ways—as an allegory of the pitfalls of the Mexican train system, an existential horror story of life’s absurdities and human limitation, and the author’s desire to laugh in spite of the insanities of the world and human interaction. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? Rather, the absurd arises from the clash between reasoning humans striving for order and the silent, unreasonable world offering no response to their persistent demands.
Arreola’s ingenious tale exudes a very Mexican flavor, but above all else it is a universal tuardagujas on the existential human’s precarious place in the world. The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions guatdagujas Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
The switchman gusrdagujas the stranger that the inn is filled with people who have made that very same assumption, and who may one day actually get there.
The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. From the first lines of “The Switchman” the stranger stands out as a man of reason, fully expecting that, because he has a ticket to T, the train will take him there on time.
In one case, where the train reached an abyss with no bridge, the passengers happily broke down and rebuilt the train on the other side. Instead, they guardaguajs the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition.
The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey.
The details of the story do not really support his claim that he is indeed an official switchman, so it may be that his tales represent a system that presents guardagujad as an official truth and relies on the gullibility of the audience. Views Read Edit View history. The old man then dissolves in the clear morning air, and only the red speck of the lantern remains visible before the noisily approaching engine.
He does not understand why the stranger insists on going guardaghjas T.
The Switchman – Wikipedia
The stranger is also told it should make no difference to him whether or not he reaches T, that once he is on the train his life “will indeed take on some direction. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.
The absurd human is one who recognizes a lack of clear purpose in life and therefore resolves to commit himself or herself to the struggle for order against the unpredictable, fortuitous reality he or she encounters. Where there is only one rail instead of two, the trains zip along and allow the first class passengers the side of the train guareagujas on the rail.
The horrified stranger, who keeps insisting that he must arrive at destination T the next day, is therefore advised to rent a room in a nearby inn, an ash-colored building resembling a jail where guardagyjas travelers are lodged.
As he gazes at the tracks that seem to melt away in the distance, an old man the switchman carrying a tiny red lantern appears from out of nowhere and proceeds to inform the stranger of the hazards of train travel in this country. The Switchman On one level the story operates as a satire on the Mexican transportation system, while on another the railroad is an analogy for the hopeless absurdity of the human condition.
As the stranger is very interested in this, the switchman once again encourages the stranger to try his luck, but warns him not to talk to fellow passengers, who may be spies, and to watch out for mirages that the railroad company generates. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well.
The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T. Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays.
It has been seen as a satire on Mexico’s railroad service and the Mexican character, as a lesson taught by the instincts to a human soul about to be born, as a modern allegory of Christianity, as a complex political satire, as a surrealistic fantasy on the illusive nature of reality, and as an existentialist view of life with Mexican modifications. In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good.
The latter comes closest to the most convincing interpretation, namely, that Arreola has based his tale on Albert Camus ‘s philosophy of the absurd as set forth in The Myth of Sisyphus, a collection of essays Camus published in The Switchman Original title: The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T.