From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Garden of Forking Paths

The Garden of Forking Paths


by Jorge Luis Borges

Dr. Stephen Albert Timeline and Summary

  • Dr. Albert greets Yu Tsun at the gate of his summer home. He speaks Chinese and is carrying a paper lantern.
  • He invites the stranger, whom he presumes to be an envoy of one of the Chinese consuls, to see "the garden of forking paths."
  • He is surprised when the visitor turns out to be a descendant of the garden's creator, Ts'ui Pen.
  • Albert spends an hour in his library explaining to Yu Tsun how he came to discover that the labyrinth and the novel created by Ts'ui Pen were one and the same.
  • He shows Yu Tsun a scrap of a letter written by Ts'ui Pen that holds the key to deciphering the novel's meaning.
  • Dr. Albert explains that the novel embodies all possible futures, creating a sort of literary labyrinth, and serves as an analogy for time.
  • In turning to retrieve the letter from his writing cabinet, Dr. Albert is shot in the back and killed by his visitor.