EL GUARDAGUJAS ARREOLA PDF

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The Switchman

The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T. But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T. He asks the stranger for the name of guarfagujas station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs towards a train station, and manages to arrive exactly at arrepla time that his train bound for a town identified only as T.

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 rl, as a surrealistic fantasy on the illusive nature of reality, and as an existentialist view of life with Mexican modifications.

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. Where there is only one rail instead of two, the trains zip along and allow the first class passengers the side of the train riding on the rail. 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.

He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition.

The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: Mexican literature short stories. In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck.

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. 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. 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.

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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.

The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. The Switchman On one level the story 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. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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. There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes.

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? The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good.

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.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment?

The Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |

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. 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 story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions 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.

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The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. 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 switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. 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.

Views Read Edit View history. 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 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.

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: In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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 railroad company occasionally creates false train stations in remote locations to abandon people when the trains become too crowded.

El guardagujas/ The Switchman

In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.

The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey. 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.

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