Circular Ruins

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In the short story, The Circular Ruins, by Jorge Borges, is mystical place filled with mysterious, unimaginable powers called the circular ruins. The main character in this story is filled with weakness and realizes that he should rest in the temple and sleep. He dreams and dreams as though it was true reality. This man then decides to create another human being (a man) and project him into real life. Everyday the man tries to sleep in order to dream up his perfect vision of “his son”. However, days pass and he is consumed with insomnia, unable to sleep. After a couple hours of sleep, the man is able to dream of a bodily function: a heart. Although he could not envision the heart all too plainly, the visions became stronger each night.

Decades pass and the man finally sees his creation slowly start to become a reality. He puts small pieces together of how he wants the human being to look, down to every precise detail. He comes to the conclusion that is cannot do this alone, so he asks the God of Fire to help him further construct his new creation. Out of everyone in the entire world, only the man and the God of Fire would be able to know that he is a fictional human being. Because the creation is not real, he is capable of doing things normal people could not, such as, walk through fire. Suddenly, the temple bursts into flames and the dreamer is trapped inside unsure of how he would escape. He considers drowning in the river but knew that death was just around the corner. He walks through the fire and does not see one burn touch his skin. It is at that moment, the man realizes that he too is just a figure of another’s imagination, created in a dream.

This short story poses the question: are things really what they seem? In a way, it enables the reader to think about his or her own subconscious. I think Borges illustrates beautiful imagery but at the same time gives us a sense of bewilderment. Borges presents an unusual paradox that the fictional being’s...