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He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why? The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions Views Read Edit View xrreola. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T.
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Arreola’s ingenious tale exudes a arreolla Mexican flavor, but above all else it is a universal statement on the existential human’s precarious place in the world.
His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly atreola essays.
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 one case, where the train reached an abyss with no bridge, the passengers happily broke down and rebuilt the train on the other side.
Print this article Guardagujqs 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. 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.
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. Retrieved April 12, 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 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. 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 residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system.
When he asks if the train has left, the old man wonders if the traveler has been in the country very long and advises him to find lodging at the local inn for at least a month. He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X.
The Switchman Original title: 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? Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity.
Mexican literature short stories. It was republished 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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
El guardagujas/ The Switchman : Juan Jose Arreola :
When the stranger asks the switchman how he knows all of this, the yuardagujas replies that he is a retired switchman who visits train stations to reminisce about old times.
Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions. The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. Camus writes that neither eel alone nor the world by itself is absurd.
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.
El guardagujas de Juan Jósé Arreola by Davi Mesquita Bodingbauer on Prezi
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 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.
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.
The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey. The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T. 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.
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 stranger wants to know if a train going to T. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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 journey.
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. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. Guardsgujas 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. It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable.
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.
Like most arreooa 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.