Borges — Language, Reality, and Media

What are your most important questions about the Borges pieces we’ve looked at? What are the most important ideas generated for you by those pieces? Add your thoughts below as a comment.

14 comments for “Borges — Language, Reality, and Media

  1. Elisabeth Eskes
    September 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I was really confused about both of the Borges stories. For the Book of Sand did the man give the book away so easily without counting his money because he knew the book had some kind of beautiful hidden curse. A curse that later the narrator found out for himself and that’s why he hid the book away in the basement? What was so horrible and secretative about the book?

    For the piece the “Circular Ruins” I was confused about the man and his son. Was the son part of his imagination, did he dream him up? And then in the end he himself was a dream then?

    I didn’t really come up with any important ideas because the pieces didn’t really make any sense to me.

  2. September 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    My question is for the Book of Sand, is it a kind of creation story or is there a philosophical theme that I missed?

  3. Dave
    September 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I enjoyed both stories. The Book of Sand was an interesting concept, but I am left with the question, what was the point? Was there a philosophy behind it? Did the author want us to find a deeper meaning to the confusion? In The Circular Ruins, I initially had a difficult time keeping track of who the dreamer was, why he was dreaming, and who he was dreaming of? The dreamer in the story dreams a son who does not know he is a dream and in the end the dreamer ends up being a dream. I hope I can find clarification in class tomorrow.

  4. Jami Dobretz
    September 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I enjoyed “The Book of Sand” story very much. I liked the mysterious book which seemed to have a life of its own. However, the message behind the story is not clear to me though. I don’t know if the author wants the reader to view the book as a burden or treasure or possibly a mixture of both.

    In the “Circular Ruins” I kept getting confused on who and what was doing the dreaming throughout the story. Was the man dreaming about human creation, his sons creation or was the dreamer was really the dream?

  5. Traci Heston
    September 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I thought that Book of Sand was interesting because of its mystery, but I do not recognize the point to it…I understand that the pages and boundaries of the Book, like particles of sand, are virtually infinte, but I did not see any overall religious/philosphical connection or message that Borges was trying to convey. Also, my computer would not load the hypertext puzzle, so I do not know if that would have increased my understanding.

    I thought that the concept of The Circular Ruins was intriguing. The dreamer created a dream person, but was simply a dreamer spawned from another dreamer himself. Retrospectively, I think that the circular nature of the temple symbolically foreshadows this cycle of dreams and dreamers. That’s mainly what I took from this story, and I hope more ideas and themes can be presented during class discussion.

  6. Romeo Mora
    September 28, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I really enjoy both short stories by Borges. After experiencing the stories in different mediums, I was left wondering if literature can be easily adapted into different types of media. “The Circle Ruins” definitely benefited from the performance; while “The Book of Sand” seemed be lost in translation.

  7. Michael Olesen
    September 29, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I really enjoyed Borges’ writing, stories and the different mediums helped because i interacted with the stories more than usual. the website and recording were helpful because one gave insight and the other allowed me to listen after i read the text.

    What i liked was the issue of reality that the person faced in “The Circular Paths” only to find out that he was in fact a dream. I find interesting because its possible issues that we may face ourselves daily.

  8. Kevin Diaz
    September 29, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I also enjoyed both of the stories by Borges. I have the same question that others seem to have, which is if there is a specific philosophy/religion that Borges drew upon when writing this story? Perhaps Borges left that aspect of the story unanswered so that the readers can debate this and decide for themselves.

  9. Allison
    September 29, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I really liked both stories but I was a bit confused by them. For the “Book of Sand” I do feel that there was a philosphical point I was suppose to get but I’m not entirely sure what that is. Also “The Circular Ruins” I am wondering why the man was dreaming about all of this and did the story have a point?

  10. Stephanie Dixon
    September 29, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It seems that many other people were a little confused by these stories, and I feel like they were a little unclear to me as well. Maybe I just completely missed the meaning of “The Book of Sand,” but I do have a question about it; why is it that Borges (I am assuming that he is the protagonist in his story?) was so obsessed with the book that he allowed it to take over his life (drive away all of his friends, keep him up at night) until he finally decided to hide it? I guess that anybody would be fascinated by this book at first, but I would think that its novelty would wear off over time. “The Circular Ruins” was totally lost on me. I understood that the man dreaming was dreaming of a son and that he was someone’s dream himself (I think?), but I don’t really get the message behind the story.

  11. Gabrielle Aguilar
    September 29, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I found both short stories interesting in their own ways. “The Book of Sand” kept my interest through out the entire story, as a reader I wanted to find out what happens with the book and how it could exist, as the narrator claims it does. I was disappointed that the mysteries of the book were not revealed, and that readers are left feeling like they are almost better off not knowing about it because of the affect that the book has on the narrator of the story. I really enjoyed the philosophical nature of the character who sold the book to the narrator.
    “The Circular Ruins” was a little more difficult for me to understand, especially since I could not get the video to load. I could only figure out what the story’s purpose was by the last line of the story. This is effective in that the revelation the narrator has is at the end and I am only apart of that revelation once the narrator himself is aware of it. However because I was so confused through out the rest of the story my interest in the story was far less than I was interested in The Book of Sand. Perhaps seeing the interactive version of the story would have made a difference.

  12. September 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I liked both of the stories and found similarities between the two of them in how both characters had these objects that kept manifesting more of itself. “The Book of Sands” was very interesting for me and very easy to understand. I liked how the man came and dropped off his burden on someone whom he knew would be just as mesmerized by it at first. The hypertext puzzle helped to make the story more understandable. “The Circular Ruins” was a little more difficult to understand for me, just because it throws you into the middle of this mind maze and it’s difficult to find a clear path. The video helped a little, but mainly, the story was just very confusing.
    However, I think that Borges does a good job at showing the burdens of things that we think we want until we attain them.

  13. Sophia Aguilar
    September 29, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I liked “The Book Of Sand”. I wonder what the book was. Was it a representation of life or was it something evil? Borges really hooked me in “The Book of Sand”. The other story was confusing to read. I didn’t really understand it.

  14. Elizabeth Merriam
    September 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I found both stories to be very circular. While The Book of the Sand was very interesting it was very hard to pick out one concrete meaning or issue that it was attempting to address. The Circular Ruins was beyond my imaginative capabilites and I found it very hard to follow and to stay interested. Who was the “Son” and was he real?

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