Melanie G


Borges attempts to communicate his feelings of separation between different parts of himself. He explains that nothing in life remains unchanged; in fact every entity and person within reality must resign to existing partially through the memories and language of others. It is not possible to keep oneself intact until death, however, through the memory and interpretation of others, remnants of each person are immortalized through literature.

This story focuses on the role that language plays within society. The narrator is interested in determining what can truly be explained through language. The narrator explains that language develops and changes over time. What we interpret as real changes over the course of time because language is always changing. Indeed, language shapes what we understand to be real. The narrator explains that culture is affected by the changing of language because it shapes our perceptions of what is conveyed verses what is understood.

The city of the Immortals personifies the narrator’s own confusion with reality. Human confusion regarding reality makes our world, and the world the narrator describes a “dubious world” that causes anxiety. Borges equates the Immortals immortality with oppressiveness, irrationality and horror, which are inferably his response to a world that overwhelms him. The narrators quest through the city is a metaphor for the self’s quest through life. He explores the idea that language is an imperfect medium of expression. Such inexactness results in uncertainty of surroundings and of the physical world. The narrator becomes hostile toward a world that he cannot understand. Indeed without consistency in language, and between people, the human condition is surviving in nothing more that a world of “pure speculation.”

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