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

El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck. It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total.

The switchman tells 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 “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. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over dl and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

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 (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |

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 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 stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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. The railroad tracks melting away in the distance represent the unknown future, while the elaborate network of uncompleted juam evokes people’s vain efforts to put into effect rational schemes.


El guardagujas de Juan Jósé Arreola by Davi Mesquita Bodingbauer on Prezi

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. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to 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 Switchman Original title: There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. 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. 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.

It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay.

The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey. Modern Language Association http: He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why?

Views Read Edit View history. In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. Retrieved from ” https: This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good.


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

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

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 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.

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.

His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, agreola philosophical themes. The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. 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 ell destination.

In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition. A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs towards a train station, and manages to arrive arrepla at the time that his train bound for a town identified only as T.