Jorge Borges: Short Stories

The Paradoxical Nature of Reality through Mathematical and Philosophical Concepts 12th Grade

Borges’ short stories, Fictions, are marked by their intricate use of Magic Realism that incorporates mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction and by their explorations of classic “Borgesian” themes of identity, infinity, and fate. Two of his stories, “The Garden of Forking Paths” and “The Library of Babel”, explore the simultaneously orderly yet chaotic logic underpinning reality. The former does so in the form of a detective story while the latter presents an intellectual challenge with little plot. While Borges manipulates the mathematical concept of infinity as a representation of all possible outcomes in “The Garden of Forking Paths”, “The Library of Babel” uses infinity to describe the contrast between the search for perfect order and the mathematical and philosophical contradictions that arise subsequently. Furthermore, the metaphysical exploration of labyrinths in “The Garden of Forking Paths” symbolizes wandering and being lost in an unfathomable Universe whereas in “The Library of Babel”, the labyrinth focuses on the difficulty of examining the Universe as a whole. Throughout this exploration of the illogical, Borges rejects constructing meaning from a series of random events beyond the realm of human...

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