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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 is very confused; he has no plans to stay. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system.
El guardagujas/ The Switchman : Juan Jose Arreola :
The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived gardagujas impossible locations. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well. 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.
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.
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 arrreola human existence.
This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions 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.
El guardagujas/ The Switchman
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. 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 absurdity as an official truth and relies on the gullibility of the audience.
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 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. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition.
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. 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.
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.
The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: 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.
Guxrdagujas Switchman Original title: 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 Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |
The stranger is also told it should make no difference to him guuardagujas or not he reaches T, that once he is on the train his life “will indeed take on some direction.
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, guardgaujas fundamental absurdist concept.
Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable. 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 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.
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. Retrieved from ” https: In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. 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 stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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.
In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity.
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. As the man speculates about where his train might be, he feels a touch on his shoulder and turns to see a small old man dressed like a railroader and carrying a lantern.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a 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. 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.
Camus giardagujas that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.