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

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.

Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays. The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T. When the stranger asks the switchman how he knows all of this, the switchman replies that he is a guardagumas switchman who visits train stations to reminisce about old times. The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system.

This page arreoka last edited on 8 Septemberat The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. 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.

El guardagujas/ The Switchman : Juan Jose Arreola :

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. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of 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 unknown destination.

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 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 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 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. And the conductors’ pride in never failing to deposit their deceased passengers on the station platforms as prescribed by guardgaujas tickets suggests that the only certain human destination is death, a fundamental absurdist concept.

The absurd human is one guardagijas 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. Guardagukas old man then dissolves in the clear morning air, and only the red speck of the lantern remains visible before the noisily approaching engine.

The Switchman

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for dl reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

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 Switchman Original title: The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger guaragujas train 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 stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to guardagukas any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. Mexican literature short stories. 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 horrified stranger, who keeps arreoal 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. From the first lines of “The Switchman” the stranger stands out as arreol man of reason, fully expecting that, because he has a ticket to T, the train will take him there on time.

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 eel.

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. It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable. When he asks if the train has left, the old man wonders if the traveler has been in the country very long and adreola him to find lodging at the local inn for at least a month.

The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.