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Jorge Luis Borges

Uploaded by Paladine on Mar 30, 2002

"The Circular Ruins" begins with a man disembarking from a canoe. The stranger wanders around in the wilderness, sleeps, dreams, wakes up, and makes himself a son. This is a lot let less complicated than sex and, it appears, not that unusual. The fire god makes the magician's creation come alive in such a way that all creatures, except the fire god and the magician, will take him for a man of flesh and bones. The young man is sent on his way, ignorant of his origins. The story ends with a fire, which the older man cannot escape. Prepared to accept to his death, he discovers that the flames do not consume him. "With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was a likeness, that someone else was dreaming him."(Borges)

If there is a "universal truth" here, it is that we are condemned to be our parents, all the way back to Adam. Each individual is doomed to experience for the first time that which all his ancestors have gone through and all his children will go through: birth and death; love and loneliness; the quest for knowledge and disappointment; the circular ruin.

In the short story, “The Library of Babel,” Borges makes a parallel between the Library and the Universe. He gives life to the Library, making every little thing seem important within the Library. From the lamps described as fruits emitting light, to the bathrooms where people relieve themselves by standing up or sitting down. As the story continues, he uses the Library/Universe parallel as a foundation to talk about a bigger issue. I believe Borges questions the credibility of the bible by discussing the language barrier that exists. For even if the first manuscript of the Bible were completely accurate, its translation would have been different, due to the fact that all languages differ, and certain words or phrases cannot be perfectly translated. It appears to me that there are many biblical references made in “The Library of Babel.” The title itself gives some idea as to the biblical references that are to be made.

“You who read me, are you sure of understanding my language.” Here Borges comes out of the story and speaks directly to the audience. Up to this point Borges has used a large vocabulary which paints a much more colorful story than a normal vocabulary would, but this large vocabulary...

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Uploaded by:   Paladine

Date:   03/30/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (933 words)

Views:   1748

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