This brilliantly written work takes the reader on a journey inside the mind of two people simultaneously and addresses the possibility that reality is only that which one understands through his or her own particular brand of consciousness. The imagery used in this work, namely, the images of the forest, trees, hedges, and the color green would all suggest that one is only able to view reality from his or her own place and realities can commingle, intertwining together much like the "rivulet of snakes" that Cortazar refers to in his story. While both the man reading the novel and the man who has come to kill him possess separate realities, both will, presumably, intertwine at some point.
While this work might appear to be incomprehensible on the level of straightforward prose, it is a breathtaking example of stream of consciousness writing that allows the reader to explore the possibility that one's own reality might simply be the figment of someone else's imagination. The story begins with a man sitting in an armchair reading. It might seem at first that he is engrossed with the story, but Cortazar's reference to the "green upholstery" at once suggests that there is sickness afoot somewhere.
[...] However, Derrida might suggest that the world and mind of the killer may only be understood by examining the man in the chair. The actions of the killer are, in some way, proportional to the actions or inactions of the man who sits reading. One can only know the actions of the one in opposition to the actions or inactions of the other. In this scenario, the man in the chair has a reality that defines itself according to his own perceptions of the world, of good and bad, of right and wrong. [...]
[...] This added perspective would lead one to believe that the reality of the killer is actually much more grounded in reality, as he can see both realities simultaneously. The reality of the man in the chair is one of acquiescence. He is resolved to his own fate, perhaps the death of the established regime, as something that is predestined or ordained from the beginning. Perhaps this is why he does not fight against the reality, even as he knows it is happening. Often, there is a sense of denial of the truth in one's own reality. [...]
[...] Escher sketch or a painting by Salvador Dali. In attempting to locate the beginning and the end, one only becomes more confounded by the fact that it cannot be found. Therefore, traditional analysis is almost useless in attempting to discern the reality in this story. Is the man in the green chair mad? Is the killer a figment of his imagination or is the killer's reality the one that should grab the attention and the focus? Instead of classic conflict/resolution principles that would apply in most short stories, this one begs further analysis. [...]
[...] If one chooses to believe that the imagery of rebellion and freedom suggest that the reality of the man in the chair is actually a metaphor for the reality of the establishment or government of the time, then it would stand to reason that in true Derrida fashion, one can understand the reality of the man who is in opposition to him. By using the man in the chair as a proverbial sacrifice for the good of all, the killer establishes himself as the hero in his own mind. Interestingly, the man in the chair believes him to be the hero, which would make him, by opposition, the villain. Again, the perception of each character is totally dependent on their perspective. It is for this reason, one could posit, that the man in the chair has his back to the killer. [...]
[...] It is not a far stretch to imagine that these are rebellious people, the ones who rage against the establishment and are determined to bring justice and liberty to a world that refuses to acknowledge that there is any other reality other than the one they choose to embrace. The idea that these two people are, in fact, staging their own private coup against the establishment would be present in the language that Cortazar uses. He describes the caresses of the young woman as being “rebuffed”. This would suggest going against what one primarily would do in such a situation. [...]
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