http://www. taken there, don’t you agree?” “Most people would say you are right. Over at the inn you can talk to people who have. The Switchman1. Juan José Arreola.
|Published (Last):||9 February 2015|
|PDF File Size:||13.8 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.36 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Awareness of the absurd human jun can come at any moment, but it is most likely to happen when, suddenly confronted by the meaninglessness of hectic daily routine, he or she asks the question “Why? Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T.
But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T. Three years later Arreola received eel scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays. 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.
The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey. He has not ever traveled on a train and arrreola not plan on doing so.
The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. 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.
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 short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.
The railroad tracks melting away in the distance represent the unknown future, while the elaborate network of uncompleted railroads evokes people’s vain efforts to put into effect rational schemes.
Mexican literature short stories.
In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions 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.
The switchman’s anecdote about the founding of the village F, which occurred when a train accident stranded a group of passengers—now happy settlers—in a remote region, illustrates the element of chance in human existence.
The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. 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. His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes.
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.
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. Briefly summarized, “The Switchman” portrays a stranger burdened with a heavy suitcase who arrives at a deserted station at the exact time his train is supposed to leave.
There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: Retrieved from ” https: Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T.
The railroad management was so pleased that they decided to suspend any official bridge building and instead encourage the stripping and recreation of future trains. The railroad company occasionally creates false train stations in remote locations to abandon people when the trains become too crowded.
Views Read Edit View history.
The Switchman – Wikipedia
A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs towards a train station, and manages to arrive exactly at the time that his train bound for a town identified only as T. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T. But it soon becomes apparent from the information provided him by his interlocutor that the uncertain journey he is about to undertake is a metaphor of the absurd human condition described by Camus. 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.
The Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |
Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? He feels that those with authority create absurd laws and conditions in their domain, and their subjects guradagujas willingly accept these absurdities, much like ordinary train passengers. The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. 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.
The switchman tells the stranger that the inn is filled with people who have made that very same assumption, and who may one day actually get there. In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. And the conductors’ pride in never failing to deposit their deceased passengers on the station platforms as prescribed by their tickets suggests that the only certain human destination is death, a fundamental absurdist concept. Modern Language Association http: The Switchman On one level the guardqgujas 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.
In the final lines of Arreola’s story the assertion of the stranger now referred to as the traveler that he is going to X rather than T indicates that he has become an absurd man ready to set out for an unknown destination.
The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system.