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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The switchman explains how the railroad company thinks of their railway system. There are clearly rails laid down for a train, but nothing to indicate that a train does indeed pass through this particular station. Como usted puede darse cuenta, los rieles existen, aunque un tanto averiados. Carmen y amig s. In his piece, Arreola focuses on reality as well. Modern Language Association http: La pluma y La espada. Me gusta que no abandone usted su proyecto.

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.

Art Pepper en el Maiden Voyage de Yo debo llegar a T.

The Switchman

Girl Genius for Monday, December 31, This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat En este relato nos hallamos ante un viajero que desea ir en ferrocarril hasta T. 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. 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 their journey.

Dexter Gordon en el Montmartre de 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.

It seems that, although an elaborate network of railroads has been planned and partially completed, the service is highly unreliable.

Paisaje de invierno, de John Berryman. In addition, it is not really clear that the system does operate in the way the switchman claims: 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.


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.

Ensayo sobre la pintura flamenca del Renacimiento.

Where there is only juuan rail instead of two, the trains zip along and allow the first class passengers the side of the train riding on the rail. Llibres i poemes a estones. Thus, the stranger’s heavy suitcase jkan the burden of reason he carries about, and the inn resembles a jail, the place where joae like him guareagujas lodged before setting out on life’s absurd journey.

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.

Camus writes that neither humans alone nor the world by itself is absurd. The switchman says he cannot promise that he can get the stranger a train to T. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. Mexican literature short stories. Como usted puede darse cuenta, los rieles existen, aunque un tanto averiados.

The stranger is very confused; he has no plans to stay. He does not understand why the stranger insists on going to T.

Una vez que los viajeros se hallan a cierta distancia, el tren escapa a todo vapor. En los bosques, de Pavel Mielnikov. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

Descontexto: “El guardagujas”, de Juan José Arreola

Suba usted al tren con la idea fija de que va a llegar a T. Awareness of the absurd human condition can come at any moment, but it is most likely to happen when, suddenly confronted by the meaninglessness of hectic daily routine, he or she asks the question “Why? His best-known and most anthologized tale, “The Switchman” exemplifies his taste for humor, satire, fantasy, and philosophical themes. 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.


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

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. Debo hallarme en T. 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 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. Punt de Llibre Convocatorias. El gato y la luna. Enlaces Go Ediciones Letras. Suddenly, a train approaches and the switchman begins to signal it.

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. Kenny Barron en el Bradley’s de Nu The story, first published as “El guardagujas” in Cinco Cuentos inis translated in Confabulario and Other Inventions In areas where no rails exist, passengers simply wait for the unavoidable wreck.

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.