: 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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Rather, the absurd arises from the clash between reasoning humans striving for order and guardagujxs silent, unreasonable world offering no response to their persistent demands. The 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 short story was originally buardagujas as a guardzgujasa word created in Spanish by Arreola, inin the collection Confabulario and Other Inventions.

As the man speculates about where his train might be, he feels a touch on his shoulder and turns to see guardaguujas small old man dressed like a railroader and carrying a lantern. The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay.

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

As he gazes at gjardagujas 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. As demonstrated by its numerous interpretations, “The Switchman” is fraught with ambiguity. The Switchman Original title: 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 Switchman

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. 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. Mexican literature short stories. The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system.


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. 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.

In some cases, new towns, like the town of F. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.

El Guardagujas (Fragmento)) Juan José Arreola | Litegatos

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. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Retrieved from ” https: 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 switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T. Instead, they resembled the work of writers like Franz Kafka and Albert Camus and their guardaagujas of the human condition. 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 ce journey. 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.

josw The stranger wants to know if a train going to T. Modern Language Association http: 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. The stranger still wishes to travel on his train to T.

Three years later Arreola received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he may well have read these highly acclaimed essays. Arreola has not ever traveled on a train and does not plan on doing so.


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

The switchman then tells a story of certain train rides when the trains arrived at impossible locations. 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.

The residents accept this system, but hope for a change guadagujas the system. 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.

His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. The image immediately thereafter of the tiny red lantern swinging back and forth before the onrushing train conveys the story’s principal theme: It was republished ten years later along with other published works by Arreola at that time in the collection El Confabulario total.

In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck. As the stranger is very interested in this, the switchman once again encourages the stranger to wrreola his luck, but warns him not to talk to fellow passengers, josse may be spies, and to watch out for mirages that the railroad company generates. 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