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. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. 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. But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, the switchman receives the answer X instead of T.
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.
Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. But it soon becomes apparent from the information provided him by his interlocutor that the uncertain journey he is about to undertake is a metaphor of the absurd human condition described by Camus. 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.
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 story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so.
He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X.
Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Why, then, does the switchman vanish at this moment?
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.
He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T. 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 The railroad management was so pleased that they xrreola to suspend any official bridge building and instead encourage the stripping and recreation of future trains.
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. 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.
In his piece, Arreola focuses ve reality as well.
Retrieved from ” https: The old man then dissolves in the clear morning air, and only the red speck of the lantern remains visible guardagujzs the noisily approaching engine. 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 railroad tracks melting away in the distance represent the unknown future, while the elaborate network of uncompleted railroads evokes guardagujaz vain efforts to put into effect rational schemes.
As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. 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.
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. Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays.
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.
This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes.
Modern Language Association http: The stranger is very confused; he has arreloa plans to stay. The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T. 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.
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 short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.
The switchman then wl a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey. 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.
The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total.
The Switchman – Wikipedia
Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Arreeola Kafka and Albert Camus and their examination of the human condition. The stranger is warned that if he is lucky ardeola to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure. The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations.
In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system. Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd.