The South (Borges story) Characters

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Juan Dahlmann

Juan Dahlmann is the protagonist in this story. He is Argentinian-born, but his paternal grandfather was a German immigrant, and his maternal grandfather was an Argentinian infantryman. Dahlmann chooses to be patriotic toward his Argentinian side, despite his German name. This oxymoron suggests that Dahlmann struggles with issues relating to his identity. Dahlmann’s journey throughout the story is wrought with questions about reality, patriotism, and identity.

Early in the story, Dahlmann acquires a copy of “The Thousand and One Nights,” and he uses it to anchor himself to the world of fantasy when his reality becomes overwhelming. For example, when Dahlmann injures his head, he spends the following days with a fever, but he persists with reading his book. Another example is when the country louts throw breadcrumbs at Dahlmann in the third section of the story. In an attempt to avoid conflict, Dahlmann immerses himself...

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This section contains 747 words
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