© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Secret Miracle

The Secret Miracle


by Jorge Luis Borges

Jaromir Hladik Timeline and Summary

  • Jaromir is strangely dreaming about chess in an apartment in Prague. (Yep, he's an intellectual). He wakes up to the sound of the Nazi army marching into town.
  • Five days later, Jaromir is arrested and accused of being Jewish, writing about Jewish topics, and opposing the Nazi army. These things are all true, and Jaromir can't deny them.
  • Jaromir spends ten days in prison waiting for his execution by firing squad. Talk about torture: and in fact, he spends most of that imagining the event over and over again. That doesn't help.
  • The night before he is to be executed, Jaromir stops obsessing over his death and thinks instead of his unfinished play, The Enemies.
  • He prays that God will grant him one more year in order to finish his play. Ten minutes later, he falls asleep. (This guy naps quite a bit in the story, actually.)
  • After a crazy dream in which God kind of talks to him (yep), two soldiers come into Jaromir's cell and lead him to the courtyard where he is to be executed. It's 8:44 am. Jaromir has 16 minutes before his execution.
  • Just as the sergeant gives the order to fire (i.e. kill Jaromir), everything in the universe stops moving.
  • Jaromir is pretty confused because, even though everything is frozen, he can still think. After a couple of days have passed in his head, Jaromir finally realizes that God has granted him his wish. A year will pass in his mind, while no time at all is passing in the external world. Jaromir has a chance to finish his play. Sweet!
  • Jaromir gratefully works on the play, completing it by memory. As soon as he writes the last line, the world starts moving again. He screams, shakes his head, and the bullets hit him. And that's the end of Jaromir Hladik.