The Garden of Forking Paths

The Garden of Forking Paths (Read here)

By Jorge Luis Borges

This narrative is somewhat of a thought-provoking piece. It is told from the first person perspective of Yu Tsun, a spy who is tasked to deliver the unknown location of British weapons to ‘The Chief’, his boss in Germany. The character Yu Tsun makes statements that are rather complex and philosophical.

“There are countless of men in the air, on land and at sea, and all that really happens happens to me.”

In my opinion, this line is quite relevant and can be applied to what we are learning about user-experience and perspective. There is a difference between watching someone do something and experiencing it personally. What matters is the single outcome happening to a person. Later the main character goes on to have a conversation with Dr Albert about the garden of forking paths, that of his ancestor Ts’ui Pen.

“I leave to various future times, but not to all, my garden of forking paths.”

The garden of forking paths is not a physical garden but one of the main metaphors in this book is the metaphor of time. Ts’ui Pen imagines time visually as a garden of forking paths, diverging and branching out into different possibilities just like a garden maze. This sort of concept is similar to that of a ‘choose your own adventure’ storybook. There are many outcomes and all these outcomes happen.

Throughout the story, Borges misleads the reader into thinking something is true when it possibly is not. I got really confused and that is probably the beauty of the story in making readers question things. Overall, I find this an interesting read and Borges’s writing style is one of the most interesting ones I have seen.


Leave a Reply