The Instruction Manual

1428 Words6 Pages
Have you ever read an instruction manual on how to climb a staircase? This may seem absurd as climbing a staircase is such a common event that we take for granted. But Julio Cortazar has written ‘Instruction on How to Climb a Staircase’ and ‘Instructions on How to Wind a Watch’ to present us with a new way of looking at the intricacies of everyday life. The excerpt from ‘The Instruction Manual’ by Julio Cortazar can be read from many different perspectives. First, we can read it as a reminder of how everyday events and objects which we take for granted are in fact incredibly complex. This in turn functions to raise our awareness of the complexity of humans, encouraging us to view humans with admiration and wonder. Second, we can read the…show more content…
This theme is further developed in the second paragraph of ‘Instructions on How to Wind a Watch’, with the watch being portrayed as a living being, describing its “veins” and having “cold blood”, suggesting the us that the watch has more power than the wearer. These examples all relate to the fact that humans can let the possession of material objects govern their lives, and portraying humans in a bad light. As well as representing material goods, the watch in the passage can also be read as a representation of time. This excerpt can also be read as a portrait of how people can be consumed and obsessed with time, with the watch representing time, and how time will run out in the end. In ‘Preamble to the Instruction on How to Wind a Watch’, the writer depicts the wearer as being obsessed with the watch, and time, and the reader is given thoughts such as having “an obligation to wind it” and an “obsession of looking into the jewellery-shop windows to check the exact time”. The idea of fear that time will run out contributes to this and intensifies the obsession. This reading can be reflected in society, as the ongoing fear of time running out can be seen in everyone. The element of time can lead to the idea of death, as when there is no time left, the only escape is death. From a different perspective, this excerpt can be read as a representation of the fact that we cannot
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