The Secret Miracle
by Jorge Luis Borges
The Secret Miracle Theme of Literature and Writing
Without literature and writing, Jaromir wouldn't have his "secret miracle." And without his secret miracle, we wouldn't have "The Secret Miracle." Our buddy Borges loves to write about writing and this story is no exception. After all, our protagonist is a writer, and he is preoccupied with the "problematic pursuit of literature," seeking to redeem his lackluster career through the completion of one last play. But since Borges is always getting all universal on us, it's important to think about the bigger picture: this story examines what it means to be dissatisfied with the act of writing, what it means to suffer for one's art, and how it feels when the ideas finally start flowing. You know the drill.
Questions About Literature and Writing
- Jaromir's writing is called a "grand invisible labyrinth" (12). Hmm, that's poetic. In what way is writing like a labyrinth or a maze?
- Why do you think Jaromir is so dissatisfied with all of the work he's written before his arrest? Is it just a matter of low self-esteem?
- Jaromir thinks that it's important for art to be clear about its "unreality." Is the story we're reading clear about this? Does "The Secret Miracle" remind us, as readers, about its unreality? And what does this have to do with the genre of magical realism?
- What kind of problems does the "pursuit of literature" cause for Jaromir? Are they all inside his head?
Chew on This
Sure, it leads to his arrest and execution by the Nazis, but Jaromir's writing is mainly "problematic" because it makes him super anxious and obsessive.
If Jaromir is a product of God's imagination, this means that he gets to be a God-like figure in relation to the characters in his own play.