Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges: The Circular Ruins. The Babylon Lottery


by Jorge Luis Borges,
Magical realism/Short stories
576 pages
Buy the book on my Bookshop

Β  πŸ“š πŸ“š πŸ“š Β 

Click here to see my other posts on this book.

Today, I’ll share my thoughts on two stories:

The Circular Ruins

A man is on his way to a temple, now in circular ruins. He has a goal in mind: to create a man by dreaming of him. His “son” does eventually come to life, as a special type of god of fire. At the end of his life, the dreamer realizes “he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.”

I really enjoyed this one a lot, with the circular movement of not just the ruins, but the pattern of the story itself. It is also a movement reminiscent of a labyrinth, a theme we are starting to find more here and that will be even more preponderant in the following stories.

The creation through dreaming has many references, to Adam, to the Golem (in Jewish folklore), and to Pinocchio.
The story can also be read for reflections on the process of creation for an author.

The Babylon Lottery

The story focuses on a system of lottery that decided on the fates of people in Babylon, and how the system evolved along the centuries; and a secret Company behind it all (with possible criticism on the institution of the Church, as its “ecclesiastical and metaphysical strength” is mentioned, as well as “sacred scriptures”).

It obviously made me think of contemporary works of fantasy and also on the famous short story by Shirley Jackson. But at a deeper level, it also deals with how lottery was used to democratically determine positions and functions in Antique Athens for instance.

There is an interesting reflection in the background between fate and chance.

To go more in depth, check the Course Hero page on this book.
Come back on December 22 for my thoughts on the next story: An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain.



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