In fact, he once called the process "a laborious and impoverishing extravagance. A better course of procedure is to pretend that these books already exist, and then to offer a resume, a commentary By having his stories focus on the discussion of imaginary texts, Borges was able to postulate the existence of some really bizarre literature: nonsensical collections of letters and symbols , catalogs of animals and objects, and a duplicate copy of Don Quixote that is somehow better than the original. The story received favorable critical reviews and helped establish Borges as a global sensation.
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The Garden of Forking Paths The Garden of Forking Paths Summary An anonymous narrator introduces a document that will, he assures us, shed a little light on why a British offensive against the Germans had to be delayed by thirteen days.
The document is a deposition oral testimony given by a witness to be used in a trial given by Dr. Yu Tsun. The first two pages are missing, so its narration begins abruptly. Having learned that his cover as a German spy in London has been blown, Yu Tsun has only minutes to plan his next move. He must escape from Captain Richard Madden, the Irishman who has murdered his co-conspirator in espionage, and complete his mission by delivering the location of a secret cache of British weapons to his boss in Germany, whom he refers to as The Chief.
He checks the contents of his pockets — revealing a revolver with only one bullet — locates the address of the one person capable of passing on his missive, and runs to catch a train to the suburbs.
Madden nearly catches up with Yu Tsun at the station, but he misses the train, filling Tsun with a sense of confidence that he will complete his mission successfully.
At the Ashgrove stop, some creepy-looking children direct Tsun to the home of Dr. Stephen Albert. Tsun follows their instructions, finding himself following a continually forking road. He finally arrives at a pavilion, or summer house, from which he can hear the familiar sounds of Chinese music.
A man named Stephen Albert greets Yu Tsun, speaking Chinese, and invites him to see the "garden of forking paths. In other words, whenever the characters come to a point at which more than one outcome is possible, both outcomes occur.
This causes the narrative to branch out into multiple narrative universes, which then provide the scenarios for new bifurcations. Though Madden succeeds in arresting Yu Tsun, Tsun has succeeded in relaying his message — the secret weapons stash is in the city of Albert. Tsun reads about the bombing of Albert by the Germans in the British papers, the same papers in which The Chief was able to read the report of the murder of Dr. Albert by Yu Tsun.
The Story Wow. Borges really knows how to cram an opening paragraph with information. Someone we presume a historian is telling us that another historian, Captain Liddell Hart, wrote that a particular British offensive against the Germans in had to be postponed due to rain.
Allow me to tell you what really happened. Historians get really excited about primary sources. In this case the deposition is dictated by a man named Dr. Yu Tsun, and the first two pages are missing. See that little row of stars? The rest of the story is the deposition, told from the point of view of Dr.
Since the first two pages are "missing," we start in mid-sentence. Tsun has just hung up the phone with Captain Richard Madden. It also means Dr. Tsun needs to run for his life. Oops, before we go on, we have to take a look at the footnote.
The "manuscript editor" takes issue with Dr. Runeberg a. Madden returned fire in self defense. We presume that the "manuscript editor" is the person who recorded Dr. But who wrote the words "Note by the manuscript editor"? Our snooty anonymous historian, perhaps? The person who transcribed the deposition?
Or maybe another reader entirely? See our discussion of narrators in the section "Narrator Point of View" for more on this. Back to the deposition. Madden is, according to Tsun, an Irishman working for England in the war. This is complicated when you consider the troubled relationship between England and Ireland at the time. Is the picture starting to come together for you yet?
Tsun begins to wax philosophical. He reflects that everything that happens happens in the present, and happens to oneself. For more on this, check out our discussion of "Themes: Philosophical Viewpoints" in the story. In an aside, we learn that Tsun is dictating this deposition after having successfully outwitted Madden and completed his mission.
Yu Tsun is now in prison, waiting to be executed. But how can he pass this info along to his superiors in Germany before Madden catches up with him? Like Jason Bourne, he will use these tools to complete his mission. But how?
Tsun reflects that a gunshot can be heard for a great distance. We remain skeptical — can someone in Germany really hear a gunshot in London? Is this a clue or a red herring? Ten minutes later, Tsun has a plan.
He has found in the phone book the one person capable of passing on the information. This man lives half an hour away by train. Before we learn what it is that Tsun did, he tells us why he did it.
He resents the Germans because they have "degraded" him by making him a spy. Furthermore, he has nothing in particular against England. In fact, he knew an Englishman who, for him, was as great as the German writer and philosopher Goethe. Pretty high praise, considering Goethe wrote Faust, one of greatest works of modern German literature. No, Tsun committed his grievous act and whatever it was, it had to be bad enough to get him put on death row in order to prove something to his boss, a man we know as "The Chief.
Oh, and also, Tsun is motivated by his desire to run for his life. That Captain Madden is a scary dude. But we digress. Oh yes Tsun gets dressed and takes a cab to the train station. He catches the train to Ashgrove, sneakily buying a ticket for a station further on in an attempt to throw Captain Madden off his trail.
As the train pulls out of the station, Tsun sees Captain Madden running down the platform. Whew — close call! Pretend as though the future were "as irrevocable as the past" The train stops. Tsun asks some children on the platform if this is Ashgrove. They say it is, and he gets off the train.
The children ask if Tsun is going to the home of Dr. Stephen Albert, and they tell him how to get there. How did they know where he was going?
A little eerie, if you ask us. The children say to take the road to the left, and to turn left at every crossroad — advice that reminds Tsun of the way to find the center of a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a maze, or a complex structure of branching paths in which a person can easily get lost.
Get out your highlighter because this idea is very important to the story. He worked on these two projects for thirteen years before he was assassinated. A novel that made no sense and a labyrinth that was never found.
As Tsun walks, he imagines the lost labyrinth of his ancestor taking different forms. In his mind it is infinite, extending across both space and time, into the past and the future. Meditating, Tsun wanders down the forking paths, feeling cut off from the world. Tsun arrives at a high gate, behind which he can see a wide avenue and a summer house.
He recognizes Chinese music coming from the building. The man assumes that Tsun is an envoy of one of the Chinese consuls. They enter the house and go into a library filled with both Eastern and Western books. Stephen Albert the guy who opened the gate watches Tsun as he takes in his surroundings. We learn that Albert used to be a missionary in China and later studied to be a Sinologist. Sinology is the study of Chinese culture. Albert sits with his back to a clock.
Tsun figures he has at least an hour before Richard Madden will arrive, and tells himself his "irrevocable decision" can wait When he died, all he had to show for his life was a "mess of manuscripts.
The Garden of Forking Paths
The Garden of Forking Paths The Garden of Forking Paths Summary An anonymous narrator introduces a document that will, he assures us, shed a little light on why a British offensive against the Germans had to be delayed by thirteen days. The document is a deposition oral testimony given by a witness to be used in a trial given by Dr. Yu Tsun. The first two pages are missing, so its narration begins abruptly. Having learned that his cover as a German spy in London has been blown, Yu Tsun has only minutes to plan his next move.
Jorge Borges: Short Stories Summary and Analysis of The Garden of Forking Paths and Emma Zunz
See other formats The Garden of Forking Paths To Victoria Ocampo In his A History of the World War page , Captain Liddell Hart reports that a planned offensive by thirteen British divisions, supported by fourteen hundred artillery pieces, against the German line at Serre-Montauban, scheduled for July 24, , had to be postponed until the morning of the 29th. He comments that torrential rain caused this delay - which lacked any special significance. The following deposition, dictated by, read over, and then signed by Dr. Yu Tsun, former teacher of English at the Tsingtao Hochschule, casts unsuspected light upon this event.
[PDF] The Garden of Forking Paths Book by Jorge Luis Borges Free Download (1 page)
Plot summary[ edit ] This article or section contains close paraphrasing of one or more non-free copyrighted sources. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Ideas in this article should be expressed in an original manner. August Learn how and when to remove this template message The story takes the form of a signed statement by a Chinese professor of English named Doctor Yu Tsun who is living in the United Kingdom during World War I. 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.