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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In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on jian so. In some cases, new towns, like the town of F.

El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions 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 horrified stranger, who keeps insisting that he must arrive at destination T the next day, is therefore advised to rent a room guarrdagujas a nearby inn, an ash-colored building resembling a jail where would-be travelers are lodged.

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 stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T. A stranger carrying wrreola 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. 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.

The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. As he gazes at the tracks that fe to melt juwn 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.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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. This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.


Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? The railroad management was so pleased that juxn decided to suspend any official bridge building and instead encourage the stripping and recreation of future trains.

Retrieved April 12, He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky.

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 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 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 residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system. 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. 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.

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: 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.


Rather, the absurd arises from the clash between reasoning humans striving for order and the silent, unreasonable world offering no response to their persistent demands. 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.

Mexican literature short stories.

El Guardagujas de Juan José Arreola – video dailymotion

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 may be spies, and to watch out for mirages that the railroad company generates. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

The stranger wants to know arreolaa a train going to T. In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck.

The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. In one case, where the train reached an abyss with no bridge, the passengers happily broke down and rebuilt the train on the other side. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T. He does not understand why the stranger insists on guaardagujas to T.

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

The Switchman

Retrieved from ” https: The “switchman” tells the stranger that the country is famous for its railroad system; though many timetables and tickets have been produced, the guqrdagujas do not follow them well. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. 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.