: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books.

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The Switchman

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. Like most of Arreola’s stories, The Buardagujas 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 switchman tells the stranger that the inn is filled with people who have made that very same assumption, and who may one day gurdagujas get there.

gkardagujas Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. The Switchman Original title: 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 guardagujws destination is death, 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.

Views Read Edit View history. The stranger still wishes ghardagujas travel on his train to T. It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total. He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says guarxagujas is “X.

He vanishes because he has fulfilled his yuardagujas as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why? In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. 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” tells the stranger that the country is famous for its railroad system; though many timetables guardwgujas tickets have been produced, the trains do not follow them well. 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.

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This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat 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. 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. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so.

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 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 stranger argues that he should be able to go to T.

The railroad company occasionally creates false train stations in remote locations to abandon people when the trains become too crowded. 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. 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.

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.

There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.

The Switchman – Wikipedia

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 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.

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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. 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 vuardagujas direction. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T.

In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. As he gazes at the tracks that fl 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’s anecdote about huardagujas 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.

Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia.