Juan José Arreola Writing Styles in The Switchman

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Point of View

"The Switchman" is relayed by a third-person narrator, delivered without explicit opinions. The only glimpse into either character's mind is the early description of the stranger as "dejected and thoughtful." Aside from this, any sense for the characters' thoughts and feelings comes from the dialogue, in which the stranger anxiously asks questions, and the old man matter-of-factly delivers answers. This use of a third-person omniscient narrator is typical of existential literature, in particular Kafka, and lends immediacy to the story. Throughout most of the text the reader identifies loosely with the stranger, whose incredulous reactions are appropriate to the ludicrous story he is told. However, when he changes the name of his destination and becomes a traveler at the end of the story, this identification halts. The fact that the character has submitted to the world of the rails leaves the reader suspended and alone to...

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This section contains 697 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Switchman Study Guide
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The Switchman from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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