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Interpretaciones bifurcadas

El tiempo y la identidad en tres cuentos de Borges


  • Oliver Backman

Summary, in English

This essay presents an intertextual analysis of three short stories by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges; “The Garden of Forking Paths” (1941), “The South” (1944), and “The End” (1944). The analysis explores the possibility of using the philosophical ideas concerning bifurcations in time as presented in “ The Garden of Forking Paths” to reinterpret the other two short stories, given that these ideas are the key to understanding the short story itself. The essay includes a total of five different readings of the short stories, one reading of each of the short stories as an independent entity, and a second reading of “The South” and “The End” respectively, which includes the perspective on time presented in “The Garden of Forking Paths”. A comparison between the first and the second reading shows how the interpretation of the stories changes with the new perspective. The idea of bifurcations in time places “The South” in the middle of a debate concerning Argentinian literature contemporary to Borges, and to “The End” it adds a deepening of the theme of predetermined destiny versus the possibility of multiple different futures. The conclusion is drawn that the interpretative framework of bifurcations in time creates a creative space for the reading in which the past and future of the events in the story are more significant, and which invites the reader to be co-creator of meaning in the short stories.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • intertextuality
  • time in Borges
  • identity in Borges
  • Argentinian literature
  • The Garden of Forking Paths
  • The South
  • The End


  • Christian Claesson (Ph.D.)