: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books.
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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 (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |
Print this article Guardagujsa all entries for this topic Cite this article. 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. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment?
The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T.
Arreola’s ingenious tale exudes a very Mexican flavor, but above all else it is a universal statement on the existential human’s precarious place in the world. 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.
Another episode involves a trainload of energetic passengers who became heroes absurd heroes in Camusian terms when they disassembled their guwrdagujas, carried it guzrdagujas a bridgeless chasm, and reassembled it on the other side in order to complete their journey. Views Read Edit View history. 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.
He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. 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 guaardagujas the unpredictable, fortuitous reality he or she encounters.
In some cases, new towns, like the town of F.
The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why?
The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. 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 absurd human is aware not only of the limits of reason but also of the absurdity of death and nothingness that will ultimately be his or her fate. 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.
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 But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T. The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. gusrdagujas
He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. 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.
Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition. The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay.
As he gazes at the tracks that seem to melt away in the distance, an old man the switchman carrying a guardagujws red lantern appears from out of nowhere and proceeds to inform the stranger of the hazards of train travel in this country.
This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.
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. 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.
In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well.
The Switchman – Wikipedia
It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total. The Switchman Original title: Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. Guardagjas are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station.
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.
Awareness of the absurd human condition 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?
As the man speculates about where his train might be, guardaagujas feels a touch on his shoulder and turns to see a small old man dressed like a railroader and carrying a lantern. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.