The Garden of Forking Paths

Jorge Luis Borges had a turning point in his literary career when he published, “The Garden of Forking Paths” in 1941. This story helped to establish his fiction writing reputation.

The story is translated by a Chinese professor of English named Dr. Yu Tsun who is living in the United Kingdom during World War I. Tsun is a spy for the Germans. As the story begins, Tsun notice  that the British officer striding towards him, Cpt. Richard Madden, is in the apartment of a fellow spy Viktor Runeberg and has either been captured or killed. Tsun presumption was that his own arrest is next. He discovered the location of a new British artillery park and wishes to bear the knowledge to his German masters before he is captured.

In passing, Tsun says that his spying was not for the sake of Germany, “a barbarous country.” He states that he did it because he wanted to prove himself to his German commander, that an Asian man was intelligent enough to obtain for the information that they needed.

Although Tsun is arrested and sentenced to death, as he has successfully communicated to the Germans the name of the city they were to attack, and indeed that city is bombed as Tsun goes on trial. The name of that city was Albert, and Tsun realized that the only way to convey that information was to kill a person of that name, so that the news of the murder would appear in British newspapers associated with his name.

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The Sun Rises and Sets

Li Po

explains that the sun does a job day in and day out for the world to survive. There’s an example of how trees don’t hate to lose their leaves in autumn because it’s a way of life for the tree. “The rise and the ending of all things is just the way things are”(16). I believe this was the general thinking of Li Po and he liked to go the way his mind pointed him, he didn’t care to impress emperors or high officials to become high society, but liked to drink and write poetry for himself and his followers. At some point in Li Po’s life he seemed very depressed. There are many references to drinking and loneliness in his poems. “This perverts the Path of things,” I think that he’s saying that life shouldn’t be played with in so many words. I think that if you put all these feelings together this is what you would get out of it. The nature of the sea could calm Li Po down change his mood to being mellow and being in this mood my encourage him to drink until he is wild and reckless.

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When first reading

Catullus I didn’t know what to think, because I really didn’t understand it. Then me and my roommate broke it down so the both of us could understand it better. As we got a better understanding of it we discovered how dirty that the poems were. The way that the poems were organized by the editor is like a story and it seems like they are helpers for one another (if that makes sense). It starts out loving then turns into a love hate relationship. In poem 86 Catullus is so enthused with the love of Lesbia no other woman can compete with her love. In poem 56 he is torn because of what he witness between Lesbia and Caelius. Now on street corners and in wretched alleys she shucks the offspring of greathearted Remus (Catullus 792), which Lesbia is shucking a man in the back alleys. He really downgrades Lesbia, he calls her many different names, and she has a fake name also which is Clodia. In poem 76 Catullus ask the gods to take away his cancer that Lesbia has caused because of the pain that she has caused him. That was interesting to me, because he compared the pain that she said him to cancer which I think can be the most painful sickness in the world. I think that Catullus is kind of mimicking Sappho the only thing that is different between Catullus and Sappho is that he actually have a relationship and she is living a fairytale.

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