Tsun is largely motivated to kill Albert to serve the Chief, ostensibly a high-ranking German officer, to show that Chinese people can be heroic. The narrative, then, is quite simple: Tsun plans to kill someone named Albert to alert the Chief that the British artillery are located in a city called Albert, to show that Chinese people can be heroic. However, the narrative ends both abruptly and with a deep sense of remorse from Tsun. Thus, he has killed Albert as he intended to do, which, as he predicts, leads to death, yet feels regret for doing so, which invites the following question: what motivated the change? This example is particularly telling, for it demonstrates the Tsun is either imagining or somehow experiencing an alternative dimension of time.
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Tsun is largely motivated to kill Albert to serve the Chief, ostensibly a high-ranking German officer, to show that Chinese people can be heroic. The narrative, then, is quite simple: Tsun plans to kill someone named Albert to alert the Chief that the British artillery are located in a city called Albert, to show that Chinese people can be heroic.
However, the narrative ends both abruptly and with a deep sense of remorse from Tsun. Thus, he has killed Albert as he intended to do, which, as he predicts, leads to death, yet feels regret for doing so, which invites the following question: what motivated the change? This example is particularly telling, for it demonstrates the Tsun is either imagining or somehow experiencing an alternative dimension of time. The specific word choice is puzzling, for it indicates guilt and regret, while also hinting at a sort of tiredness.
This connection suggests that Tsun feels regret and weariness because he believes that there are an infinite number of alternative dimensions of time, which means that his act of heroism, intended to impress his Chief, is insignificant because in a near-infinite number of realities he did not prove his people were capable of heroism.
Before Tsun heard about Pen, he believed that time was linear and singular, meaning that he could and would prove himself and his people in the only reality that existed making his task both achievable. Thus, because an infinite number of realities exist, Tsun has not, and indeed cannot, act with heroism in every dimension of time 2.
His response to this knowledge is then twofold: a sense of regret because he now believes his task was impossible and thus not worth attempting; and weariness, which is perhaps felt in response to recognizing that even after devoting full effort to this task, he was still unable to achieve it.
Then, against his belief at the beginning of the story — that killing Albert was worth dying for — Tsun despairs because he recognizes the insignificance of himself, his actions, and his reality, in light of the near infinite number of alternate dimensions of time. The sheer coincidences in the story seem to indicate that the present story is only a version of the story.
The reality of the story seems to exist in a reality of infinite dimensions of time, and the story does not resolve an opening quotation mark, which suggests the story itself is infinite. While this explanation alerts the reader to the missing beginning pages, it fact may also distract the reader from another truth: that the framed narrative features an opening quotation mark that is never closed.
This absent quotation is particularly noteworthy, because it signifies that the document has not properly ended. Thinking in this way, the missing quotation mark suggests that this version of the story has ended, but that there are an innumerable number of alternative versions of this story that come after it.
Similarly, it seems that the ending of the story is an interruption or incomplete ending that should have been followed by another version of the story, which embraced different possibilities.
If true, the only way the story could have ended the quotation is if it told the story differently each time — embracing every single different choice and then exploring the ramifications of that choice to ad nauseam. Of course, such a story would be infinite. However, close readings seem to reward the reader with, if nothing else, challenging, mind-altering thoughts.
The narrative itself is relatively simple; but one should note that the narrative seems to be used in order to introduce a discussion on the nature of time. The discussion of time however, seems to have the utmost importance for the narrative itself, since it convinces Tsun to believe that dimensions of time are infinite, which causes him contrition and weariness.
In this way, the theme of time is important both as a metaphysical discussion, and in the way that it affects Tsun emotionally. Moreover, the logic of the story seems to indicate that time is, in fact, infinite in dimensions, which is noteworthy, since the story creates enough room for interpretation to suggest that the story itself is infinite.
Borges, Jorge Luis. Donald A. Annotated Robert R. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
The Garden of Forking Paths Summary
Jorge Luis Borges In fact, the story helped to establish his reputation as a fiction writer. Outraged, other Argentinean writers and critics devoted an entire issue of the prominent literary journal, Sur, to Borges and his work. As in his other stories, Borges uses fiction as a vehicle to explore philosophical and literary issues. Consequently, the characters in his stories seem less developed. Its clever plot and sophisticated philosophical exploration of the nature of time inspires much critical commentary. Jorge Luis Borges was one of the most important and influential writers of the twentieth century.
The Garden of Forking Paths
The story's theme has been said to foreshadow the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Borges's vision of "forking paths" has been cited as inspiration by numerous new media scholars, in particular within the field of hypertext fiction. As the story begins, Doctor Tsun has realized that an MI5 agent called Captain Richard Madden is pursuing him, has entered the apartment of his handler Viktor Runeberg, and has either captured or killed him. Doctor Tsun is certain that his own arrest is next. He has just discovered the location of a new British artillery park and wishes to convey that knowledge to Berlin before he is captured. He at last hits upon a plan to achieve this.
The Infinite Labyrinth of Time in Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths”