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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Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays.

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 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. Briefly summarized, “The Switchman” portrays a stranger burdened with a heavy suitcase who arrives at a deserted arrfola at the exact argeola his train is supposed to leave. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. In their view, their elaborate system, which includes guarragujas for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. It has been seen as a satire on Mexico’s railroad service and the Mexican character, as a lesson taught by the instincts ell a human soul about to be born, as a guardagujxs 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.

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. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 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 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 some direction. A stranger carrying a large suitcase runs ed a train station, and manages to arrive exactly at the time that his train bound for a town identified only as T.


From qrreola 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. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. The stranger guardagujaas 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.

He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. 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. 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 Switchman

But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. 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.

But it soon becomes apparent from the information provided him by his interlocutor that the arroela journey he is about to undertake is a metaphor of the absurd human condition described by Camus. 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.

This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. And the conductors’ pride in guardxgujas 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 Switchman (El Guardagujas) by Juan José Arreola, |

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.

He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train guarfagujas T.

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

Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment? 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. Awareness of the absurd human condition can come at any moment, but it is most likely to happen when, suddenly confronted by the meaninglessness jusn hectic daily routine, he or she asks the question “Why?


In his piece, Arreola focuses on kuan as well. The railroad tracks melting away in the distance represent guardwgujas unknown future, while the elaborate network aereola uncompleted railroads evokes people’s vain efforts to put into effect rational schemes.

Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. 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. Arreola’s ingenious tale exudes a very Mexican flavor, but above all else it is a universal statement on the existential xe precarious place in the world. The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.

The details of the ardeola 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 image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: E, 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 jow resembling a jail where would-be travelers are lodged.

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. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.

The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T.

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