Tuesday, March 24, 2009

La noche boca arriba

written by Julio Cortázar
[I] pp. 177 - 189

Summary:
An unnamed man is in the modern world, riding his motorcycle through town. He swerves out of the path of a woman crossing the street, but as a consequence, goes unconscious. Fue como dormirse de golpe. (178) When he comes to, he realizes he is bloody, his knee is hurt, his right arm is in pain, and his eyebrow has a large gash. He is taken to the hospital, where a hombre de blanco approaches him con algo que le brillaba en la mano (180)...

He is in a strange dream, with fragrances. Y todo era tan natural, tenía que huir de los aztecas que andaban a caza (hunt) de hombre, y su única probabilidad era la de esconderse en lo más denso de la selva […que] los motecas conocían (180). He stands there, nervous from unexpected sounds around him, clutching his stone dagger. When he smells the smell he fears most, he wakes up with a fright.

He just wakes up, and finds himself thirsty and in a cast. He has la fiebre (182), allowing him to fall in and out of consciousness.

He is again in confusion, but soon realizes that la guerra florida había empezado for tres días y tres noches (183). He kills some enemies that attack him, but is eventually caught with a rope.

The patients at the hospital are convinced it is la fiebre, but it is more. The blurred line between reality and dream continues: se oía toser, respirar fuerte, a veces un diálogo en voz baja (184), ¿Quién hubiera pensado que la cosa iba a acabar así? (184). He then feels like he has been transported through time and space: tenía la sensación de que ese hueco, esa nada, había durado una eternidad. No, ni siquiera tiempo, más bien como si en ese hueco él hubiera pasado a través de algo o recorrido distancias inmensas (185).

He awakens on his back, naked and tied in ropes. He hears the rituals of the aztecas and knows he is ascending the steps of the sacrifice. He knows he will be carried to the top where he will be sacrificed. He wishes this recurring dream will end.

He sits in the hospital, glad that he is awake. Yet he cannot manage to keep his eyes open; he sleeps and returns to being tied up, about to have his heart ripped out. At this point, he realizes that his “dream” is actually his reality; when he is about to die, ahora sabía que no iba a despertarse (188). Alguien se le había acercado con un cuchillo en la mano, a él tendido boca arriba, a él boca arriba con los ojos cerrados entre las hogueras (188-9). He dies.

Translation:
http://deeblog.squarespace.com/journal/2008/5/9/la-noche-boca-arriba-part-1.html

Movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX+auFxEskM

Themes:
-desdoblamiento y dualidad de ser
-la tenue línea entre lo real y lo ilusorio
-el cuento fantastic del siglo XIX y siglo XX

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