Megan Y


In “The Aleph”, Jorge Luis Borges examines a single point in space where everything in existence is contained. What he sees is essentially impossible: he sees everything in existence. However, he can not remember all of this, which relates to the question of “Who am I?” because though everything that we ever encounter or experience makes us who we are, we cannot remember every second of our lives, just the way in this one instant the narrator can see the entire world, but cannot remember all of it, so he still does not know what the whole world consists of or what the whole world is. If we could remember everything that ever happened to us, there would be no questions in life for us and our existence would be boring. If the narrator of the Aleph could remember the entire world that he has just seen in the Aleph, his existence would then be pretty pointless because there would be nothing left for him to explore or question. Also, if the narrator can only see things that are in existence, this means he cannot see anything in the past or the future, which still would not explain the entire world and its existence because it cannot explain what has happened to the world and what is going to happen to it to make it what it is, just as we cannot collect our entire past and future to know who we are. In “The Aleph,” Borges draws parallels between seeing the entire world in the Aleph and seeing our entire self, and these parallels help to explain why we can never fully answer the question “who am I?”.

In “The Other,” Borges describes an encounter with a young man who is the younger version of himself. In this short story Borges is examining the relationship between someone and their self. He claims that one cannot decieve his self, which can often make it hard to understand yourself and communicate with yourself. Borges also talks a lot about dreams, saying that we must accept our dreams and the universe. Also, in dreams, it is possible to know a lot more than you do in real life, and perhaps this leads us to insights about our lives. I wondered if the story was trying to say something reality as well, since one man is dreaming and one man is not, and we cannot draw the line between reality and dream in this story.

In “The Immortal”, Borges once again gives a singular look at human nature. This time, he uses Immortal men whose city is partly made up of a maze of identical chambers. Throughout his complex story, Borges makes a few points about human nature. First, as his narrator dreams of a labyrinth with a well that will never be reached by the time he (the narrator) dies, Borges is saying that we can never truly figure ourselves out and know ourselves totally. Second, with the city that is a maze connecting identical chambers, Borges expresses that our minds are mazes and we must continually try to find our way around them. Finally, Borges also discusses death and its effect on men, saying that when men are immortal, everything depends on the past and the future, and when men are mortals, they are merely concerned with the present, and not the larger picture.

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