El final de El astillero

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The novel El astillero (Buenos Aires 1961), by Juan Carlos Onetti, provides two alternative endings, which have inspired a number of interpretations. The present article provides a reading based on the tension in the novel between the two poles of reality and illusion which intermittently draw the protagonist, Larsen. The reading takes into account the plot of El astillero itself, and also moves beyond this particular novel into other texts in Onetti's Santa Maria cycle where Larsen figures. It is proposed that the ambiguous ending projects a never-ending pendular movement between the poles mentioned, and suggests that Larsen (and Onetti) are unwilling to give up on illusion as a way out of the constraints of reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
JournalFragmentos: revista de lingua e literatura estrangieras, Universidade Federal de Sant Catarina
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Juan Carlos Onetti
  • El astillero
  • Latin American Literature
  • Uruguay
  • 20th Century


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