written by Jorge Luis Borges
[I] pp. 143 - 154
Juan Dahlmann is a man of two heritages, his parents heralding from Argentina and Germany, and that he is a bookkeeper. But this really isn't that important. What is important, though, is that Dahlmann has a farm in the South of Argentina that he wants to settle in.
One day in February 1939, something hit Dahlmann on the head while he was walking with the book One Thousand and One Nights. He walks back to his room, where a fever and some nightmares overtake him. He is taken to the hospital, un sanatorio, where he has surgery and endures great pain, both physically and psychologically. All he wants to do is go to his farm.
After noticing symmetries between his time before and after his hospital stay, Dahlmann takes a trip to the South of Buenos Aires. He sees a cat, and realizes that he doesn't know where he is: aquel contacto era ilusorio (147).
He goes to the train station where he boards the train, happy to be alive after his ordeal. He observes nature, eats, lives, and feels. He takes a nap, and dreams, before again realizing that perhaps he is not going to his farm: la soledad era perfecta y tal vez hostil, y Dahlmann pudo sospechar que viajaba al pasado y o sólo al Sur (149). Dahlmann then gets kicked off the train.
A series of parallels between the two worlds then emerge: the loud cafeteria, the customer who looks like a hopsital employee, a light brush on his face. He then decides to read his book, but others laugh at him. Then a compadrito from the rowdy crowd approaches him with a large dagger, and they are about to fight. Perhaps this is a way for Dahlmann to come to terms with his pain: Era como si el Sur hubiera resuelto que Dahlmann aceptara el duelo (153). He wants to fight, but is unable. Fortunately, the compadrito leaves, and Dahlmann leaves towards his farm, towards El Sur.
The story is somewhat autobiographical, and is a good example of desdoblamiento. The reader is left with a large degree of ambiguity in what is real and what is fake.
-el desdoblamiento y la dualidad de ser
-la tenue línea entre lo real y lo ilusorio
-el cuento fantástico del siglo XIX y del siglo XX