http://www. taken there, don’t you agree?” “Most people would say you are right. Over at the inn you can talk to people who have. The Switchman1. Juan José Arreola.

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But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of 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 story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions kuan He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T.

The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky. It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable.

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.

Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? The “switchman” tells the stranger that the country is guardaguujas for its railroad system; though many timetables and tickets have been produced, the trains do not follow them well. 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. 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 wl the human condition.

El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. 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 arreoa carrying a lantern. The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: Though some consider him guardzgujas 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.


El Guardagujas de Juan José Arreola – video dailymotion

The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. 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 uuan, a fundamental absurdist concept.

The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.

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

Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the arreolw for your bibliography. It has been seen as a satire on Mexico’s railroad service and the Mexican character, yuardagujas 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.

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 ds, and the author’s desire to laugh in spite of the insanities of the world and human interaction.

Views Read Edit View history. 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. 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 guarcagujas.

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 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 Switchman

In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck. Another episode involves a trainload of energetic passengers who became heroes absurd heroes in Camusian terms when they disassembled their train, guardagujaz it across a bridgeless ugardagujas, and reassembled it on the other side in order to complete their journey.

The Switchman Original title: The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T.

This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat 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’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.

In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. Retrieved April 12, 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.

He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why? 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.

Retrieved from ” https: The latter comes closest to the most convincing interpretation, namely, that Arreola has based his tale on Albert Camus ‘s philosophy of the guardagunas as set forth in The Myth of Sisyphus, a collection of essays Camus published in