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Death And The Compass Jorge Luis Borges

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 950 words Published: 8th May 2017

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Detective story is one of the oldest genres in Western literature. People are always captivated with stories that are full of intrigue and dastardly actions, the same as they are captivated with the detective character that vigorously and incessantly, almost zealously works to unweave the mystery and find out what wrongs have happened. The short story Death and the Compass, written by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges is exactly that: a thrilling little detective story. It is a thirteen pages long story that is rather short and simply and easy for understanding detective story. Despite its concise length, it still captivates its readers and develops the issues that seem to be too complex to be explored in such a concise environment.

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The short story of Death and the Compass depicts a brilliant, in some way strange, detective named Erik Lonnrot, and the conditions and procedures leading up to his predictable demise at the hands of an unforgiving criminal called Red Scharlach. Red Scharlach is aware that Eric Lonnrot is a great thinker, and a researcher, and inspires his great curiosity and wish to unravel mysteries, luring him to the apprehension Tiste-le-Roy through a series of mystifying murders involving mysterious little clues and hints keeping rabbinical intrigue. The whole mystery was in the four-letter name of God, the last and last one hundredth name of God in the Hasidic studies, is being expressed, one letter at a time, each connecting to the killing. Eric Lonnrot becomes so fascinated in the conspiracy that he used at the attraction and seals his own termination, at the hands of overdramatic Red Scharlach.

There is also a need to mention that the short story Death and the Compass is very interesting and captivating. It inspired the adaptations and creation of several movies. In 1967, The Firesign Theatre performed an adaptation on Radio Free Oz. One of the movies is 55-minute English-language “Death and the Compass”, which was made by the British director Alex Cox in 1996. The second short film is “Spiderweb”, directed by Paul Miller. Both of them are based on Death and the Compass written by Jorge Luis Borges. The story Death and the Compass was written more than fifty years ago but it remains popular even nowadays.

The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

The Garden of Forking Paths is the short story of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, written in 1941 and dedicated to Victoria Ocampo. In 1944 it was published in the book “Fictional History”.

Discussing the plot of the story, there is a need to mention that it starts with the author’s statement about the fallacy of the delay in the onset of British troops in Saint-Montobane in July 24, 1916, mentioned in the book of Liddell Hart’s “History of the World War I”. Next Borges refers to the statement of a Yu Tsun that is presented below, and which actually makes the story. In his letter, Yu Tsun, who is a resident of the German intelligence service, exposed by Captain Richard Madden, tells of the attempt to transfer to Germany the name of a place, where the British artillery park is situated. With the help of the phone book, he learns the name of the person who can send his news; so he goes to meet that person whose name is Stephen Albert. On the way, Yu Tsun thinks about his great-grandfather Ts’ui Pên, who wanted to write a novel and to create a labyrinth, where everyone would be lost. However, the novel turned out to be nonsense, and the maze was not found.

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When Yu Tsun comes to Albert, he is offered to look at Albert’s garden of forking paths, which also created by Ts’ui Pên. At the end, it turns out that the garden, a novel and a maze are the same thing. Ts’ui Pên created a novel in which, reality ramify and interweave as in a maze. After Albert has shown a novel, Yu Tsun kills him. At this moment he is caught by Richard Madden. The next day the newspapers publish the news about the mysterious murder of Stephen Albert. After that, the Luftwaffe bombs the Albert’s city, where the British divisions were situated. At the end of the story the author shows that Yu Tsun completed his task.

Analyzing the short story The Garden of Forking Paths, it is understood that the garden of Ts’ui Pên`s novel is a kind of charade, in which the time is encrypted. In the novel, which is a garden of forking paths, in contrast to the traditional novel, the hero chooses all possibilities offered to him. In one chapter the hero dies; in the other – he is alive again. Thus, the novel becomes infinite. It is inspired by the world as Ts’ui Pên saw it. Ts’ui Pên did not believe in universal time, and believed in a network of countless time-series. At the end of the story Albert says to Yu Tsun that in one of the innumerable options for the future, he is his enemy, in another – a friend. In fact, it turned out both: Albert revealed Yu Tsun the essence of the creation of his ancestor, but Yu Tsun had to kill him to finish his mission.

Discussing interpretations and allusions of the story, it is seen that in essence, the garden of forking paths is Borges`s approach of many-worlds interpretation, according to which there are many parallel worlds. However, Borges goes even further: he allows the crossing, intertwining of timelines, so the world appears as a huge, endless maze that Borges many times interpreted differently in his writings. The Garden of Forking Paths, remaining one of the most popular short stories of Jorge Luis Borges deserves readers` attention.


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