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

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The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he guardxgujas lucky. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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 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 On one level the story operates sl a satire on the Mexican transportation system, while on another the railroad is an analogy for the hopeless absurdity of the human condition. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.

Modern Language Association http: 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.

In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. 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. 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 Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |

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.


In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: Awareness of the guarddagujas human condition can come at any moment, but it is most likely to happen when, suddenly confronted by the meaninglessness guardagukas hectic daily routine, he or she asks the question “Why?

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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. The railroad company occasionally creates false train stations in remote locations to abandon people when the trains become too crowded.

Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good.

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

The Switchman – Wikipedia

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 guardagujqs in this country.

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

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


The Switchman

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. 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. 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 areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck.

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 There are clearly rails laid down for a eo, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station.

In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well.

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, a fundamental absurdist concept. 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 guardzgujas.

Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the guarxagujas for your bibliography. 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.