“The Garden of Forking Paths” suggests that a text, a work
of fiction, can be a labyrinth. It entails
a lot of occurrences and loops, which makes us the readers, unsure of the
difference between reality and illusion. Stephen Albert, studied Ts’ui
Pen’s work for some time, and he told Yu Tsun that the garden of forking paths
and the novel were the same. In other words, whenever the characters came to a
point at which more than one outcome was possible, both outcomes occurred.
Captain Madden, who was an Irishman that worked
in the English armed forces, during a period when the relationship between the
two nations were cold. Which meant that he had something to prove to his superiors.
The English didn’t trust the Irish, so that meant he was suspected of treachery.
That’s why Yu Tsun didn’t blame Madden for making it his personal mission to
hunt him down.
The Garden of forking paths is a metaphor in
the sense where the novel itself can be looked at as a labyrinth, Yu Tsun spent
his childhood in a garden and he also had to follow the garden which was a
maze, to get to Dr. Alberts library. It appears in so many parts of the story
that meanings are as infinite as the forking paths of Ts’ui Pen’s novel. The
labyrinth was also an imagined setting, that took place in Yu Tsun’s mind as a reoccurring
Dr. Albert’s solution was that the book was the
labyrinth. Based on his
work that Ts’ui Pen had intended to construct an infinite labyrinth, as well as
a cryptic letter from Ts’ui Pen himself stating, “I leave to several
futures my garden of forking paths”, Doctor Albert realized that the
“garden of forking paths” was the novel, and that the forking took
place in time.
As compared to most fictions, where the
character could choose one alternative at each decision point and eliminate all
the others, Ts’ui Pen’s novel attempted to show a world where all the possible
outcomes of an event could occur at the same time, each leading to more possibilities
and outcomes. Albert, also further explained that the constantly separate paths
do sometimes align again, but as the result of a different chain of causes; for
example, he says, in one possible timeline Doctor Tsun has come to his house as
an enemy, in another as a friend.