: El guardagujas (Spanish Edition) (): Juan José Arreola, Jill Hartley, Dulce María Zúñiga: Books. http://www. A propósito de las elecciones, les comparto un fragmento de “El guardagujas” de Juan José.

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The Switchman On one level guardaujas story operates as a satire on the Mexican jjose system, while jyan another the railroad is an analogy for the hopeless absurdity of the human condition. The 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 building resembling a jail where would-be travelers are lodged. In some cases, new towns, like the town of F.

Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: 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.

His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. 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.

Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. 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.

El Guardagujas de Juan José Arreola – video dailymotion

The residents accept this system, but hope for a change in the system. It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable.

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. Like most of Arreola’s stories, The Switchman’ can be interpreted in a variety guqrdagujas 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.


But upon inquiring again where the stranger wants to go, arrela switchman receives the answer X instead of T. The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. The stranger is warned that if he is lucky enough to board any train, he must also be vigilant about his point of departure.

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.

Retrieved from ” https: 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.

He does not understand why the stranger insists on going 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. He has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so.

The short story was originally published as a confabularioa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions. 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 jjan in Though some consider him to be a pioneer in the field on non-realistic literature, critics of him felt that social conditions in Mexico guaddagujas a more realistic examination of the inequalities.

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

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.

El Guardagujas… de Juan José Arreola

Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it. The switchman turns to tell the stranger that he is lucky.


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. As jusn by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. 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.

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. The Switchman Original title: Views Read Edit View history. Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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 Arreooa modifications.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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 Switchman

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The stranger argues that he should be able to go to T. The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay.

He josr because he has fulfilled his role as the stranger’s subconscious by not only asking the Camusian question “Why? He asks the stranger for the name of the station he wants to go to and the stranger says it is “X. The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well.