: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books. http://www. A propósito de las elecciones, les comparto un fragmento de “El guardagujas” de Juan José.

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The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay.

As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. 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.

But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the arreolaa receives the answer X instead of T.

Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. 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.

The Switchman – Wikipedia

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. 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. 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.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.

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.

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 acclaimed essays.


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. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time ce not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. Retrieved from ” https: The absurd human is aware not huan of the limits of reason but also of the absurdity guardagjuas death and nothingness that will ultimately be his or her fate.

This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat 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 Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |

joose 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. A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs towards a train station, and manages to arrive exactly at the time guardagyjas his train bound for a town identified only as T.

Views Read Edit View history. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. Mexican literature short stories.

Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Joes Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition.

Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X.

The switchman ugardagujas the stranger that the inn is filled with people who have made that very same assumption, and who may one day actually get there. 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 Retrieved April 12, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.


El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

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 josd be spies, and to watch out for mirages that the railroad company generates. 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? In some cases, new towns, like the town of F.

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.

The Switchman

Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. 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. The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system.

Briefly summarized, “The Switchman” portrays a stranger burdened with a heavy suitcase who arrives at a deserted station at the exact time his train is supposed to leave. 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 their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good.

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. 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.

He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why?

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