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Though some consider him to be a pioneer in the field on non-realistic literature, critics of him felt that social conditions in Mexico demanded a more realistic examination of the inequalities. In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck.
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 story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions The Switchman Original title: Retrieved April 12, The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T.
He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.
It was arreooa ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total. Thus, the stranger’s heavy suitcase symbolizes the burden of reason he carries about, and the inn resembles a jail, the place where others like him are lodged before setting out on life’s absurd journey.
The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. Another episode involves a trainload of energetic passengers who became heroes absurd heroes in Camusian terms when they disassembled their train, carried it across a bridgeless chasm, and reassembled it on the other side in order to complete their argeola. 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 would-be travelers are lodged.
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. 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.
There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station.
The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. 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.
When the stranger asks the switchman how he knows all of this, the switchman replies that he is a retired switchman who visits train stations to reminisce about old times. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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 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.
The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. Mexican literature short stories. This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat 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.
The Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |
The “switchman” tells the stranger that the country is famous for its railroad system; though many timetables and tickets have been produced, the trains do not follow them well.
The old man then dissolves in guardgaujas clear morning air, and only the red speck of the lantern remains visible before the noisily approaching engine. 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.
The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations.
El guardagujas de Juan Jósé Arreola by Davi Mesquita Bodingbauer on Prezi
wrreola Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. The short story was originally published as arreolx confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.
Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays.
Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. 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.
He feels that those with authority create absurd laws and conditions in their domain, and their subjects often willingly accept these absurdities, much like ordinary train passengers. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia.
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 Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.