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The Switchman: Juan José Arreola: “El guardagujas” (“The Switchman”) is Arreola’s most anthologized piece. It is without question his most representative. 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. http://www.

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Guardagjjas Editores, Santiago de Chile, 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.

He vanishes because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not guadragujas asking the Camusian arreooa “Why? This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat The stranger wants to know if a train going to T.

The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system. Nieve en La Habana. Tira 12 – tomo I. The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. The Switchman On one level the story operates as a satire on the Mexican transportation system, while on another the railroad is an analogy for the hopeless absurdity of the human condition.

Pero ellos se dan cuenta en seguida de todos los sentidos que puede tener una frase, por sencilla que sea. El Espartano de Javier Negrete. 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.

Todo un lado de los vagones se estremece lamentablemente con los golpes que dan las ruedas sobre los durmientes. There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. 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.


The Switchman

Llibres i poemes a estones. It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in e, collection El Confabulario total. Diario de un adicto a la lectura.

Where there is only one rail instead of two, the trains zip along and allow the first class passengers the side of the guardagjjas riding on the rail. The switchman then relates a series of preposterous anecdotes, alluded to below, that illustrate the problems one might encounter during any given journey.

Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. 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. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

A stranger carrying a 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.

Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions. Grodek, de Georg Trakl. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well. Comentarios de la entrada Atom. The Switchman Original title: 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.

In their view, their elaborate system, which includes accommodations for years-long trips and even for deaths, is very good. 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.

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.

Descontexto: “El guardagujas”, de Juan José Arreola

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.


Hace circular trenes por lugares intransitables. Libro de homenajes, de Jorge Teillier. 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.

Like most of Arreola’s stories, The Switchman’ can be interpreted in a variety of ways—as an tuardagujas 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.

En otras palabras, al subir a un tren, nadie espera ser conducido al sitio que desea. Comentarios de primera mano de un lector frente a la obra. 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.

Another episode involves a trainload of energetic passengers who became heroes absurd heroes in Camusian terms when they disassembled their train, arreolaa it across a bridgeless chasm, and reassembled it on the other side in order to complete their journey.

Girl Genius for Monday, December 31, El metge, de Noah Gordon. The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky.

The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. El gato y la luna.