The South (Borges story) Themes & Motifs

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Patriotism, Heritage, and Identity

The story focuses primarily on Juan Dahlmann’s life as he tries to travel from the city to his ranch. Throughout this journey, Borges uses Dahlmann’s character to explore the importance of identity as it relates to nationality and lineage.

Borges uses irony to explore the possible invalidity of basing one’s identity on one’s lineage. At the beginning of the story, the narrator establishes that Johannes Dahlmann is Juan Dahlmann’s German Grandfather, and Francisco Flores is Juan Dahlmann’s Argentinian Grandfather. The narrator confirms that Dahlmann considers himself to be “profoundly Argentinian” (167). Furthermore, Dahlmann only pursues things related to his Argentinian heritage, such as the ranch that Flores bequeathed to him. However, the irony arises because Dahlmann retains his Germanic name. All of Dahlmann’s behavior is catered to his Argentinian side, but he cannot escape his Germanic lineage...

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This section contains 1,156 words
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Buy The South (Borges story) Study Guide
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