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Jorge Borges' Life Seen In The Secret Miracle

2083 words - 8 pages

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In 1944, Jorge Luis Borges published “The Secret Miracle”, a short story describing Jaromir Hladik, a Jew living in the Second World War. Jaromir Hladik is taken away by the Germans to a jail by the Germans to be executed shortly after. While in jail, he ponders on all the ways he could be killed and later realizes that he still has yet to finish his play “The Enemies”. He prays to God, begging for a year to be granted to him so that he can complete his last masterpiece. In a dream, he is granted that year. When the Germans pull the trigger, the world freezes for a full year so he can finish his play. At a first glance, “The Secret Miracle” appears to be merely a fictioness story. However, Borges included so much of his own life in the character of Jaromir Hladik that the story no longer seems to be so made up. “Borges writing was impelled and shaped by experience” (Williamson 296). Borges grew up loving books from the very start of his life. His father was always a reader, so he had a room set up like a library that housed hundreds of books. Borges also grew up in a family with colorful war history, which allowed him to be introduced to interesting stories early on. At the age of 56, he was completely blind, causing him to see literature in a different way. He no longer thought literature was a reality. For instance, he believed that although an apple is called an “apple”, it may not actually have that name. Yet he continues to write in this unreality for he feels that it is a writer’s duty to speak out against Juan Peron through literature. In spite of Borges’ belief that literature is not reality, there is evidence of Borges’ life embedded in it which clearly shape the issues and concerns of his work.
Borges was always one to question reality. However, this isn’t very suprising coming from a man who spent most of his life in blindness and hallucinations. On the eve of Christmas in 1938, Jorge Borges ran into a glass door by mistake, causing the glass to shatter to bits, wounding is head.
“Borges feared that in this period of hovering between life and death, his creative impulses had been destroyed… On recovery, Borges burned with creative energy that eventually lead him to international recognition and fame. The accident symbolized an important break in his career: he now turned his attention to fiction” (Sickels 11).
Not only did the hallucinations cause this fiction, but so did his blindness. From the beginning of adulthood, he had a disease which caused him to eventually go blind. However, this did not stop him from writing. In fact, like the previous accident, it “inspired him to pay closer attention to places he could see within his imagination” (Sickels 2). In “The Secret Miracle”, Hladik also goes through hallucinations or dreams. In one, he meets a librarian whose “eyes were dead” (Borges 169). Through his hallucinations and dreams, he soon started to mix up the realism and idealism. “Literature, like...

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