This book examines the issues that come about in relationships. In the book, El Tunnel, Juan Pablo Castel who is an artist by profession is attracted to the woman who came to admire some of his paintings at an art exhibit. The woman is incidentally married but Castel insists on introducing himself. She decides to disappear. Castel makes a follow up of the lady throughout the city and fails to track her on two occasions before he finally meets her. He develops interest in her despite learning that she is married to an old scholar. Castel is unable to overcome the obsession for the lady and his interest results in fate as the outcome is the killing of Mary.
The story explains the consequences of touching and physical separation from the community that culminated in Castel murdering the person who he presumed to be able to understand him most in the whole world.
Castel sees Maria entering an apartment that he believed was her place of work. He intends to track her and question her about the painting she had watched at the exhibition. In the process, he learns that her name is Maria. They part but promise to meet again. It is later found that Maria is married to a blind fellow called Allende and they live in the Posadas Street in the northern frontiers of the city. The continued interest in Maria by Castel is conquered by investigations of the life of Maria with her spouse, the reason for her not using her husband’s last name, and her private thoughts. This makes her uneasy. As a result of this dissatisfaction, Cartel’s infatuated thoughts drive him to various sorts of unnecessary worries about his relationship he had believed they had developed for each other.
The worry he has over their relationship is intensified when they pay a visit to Allende’s cousin Hunter. The observation that Castel make during the visit are not encouraging. He observes the presence and outlook of other incoming family and the overheard but not elaborate confrontation between Maria and Hunter .These observations force him to leave the ranch hoping that Maria would notice that he had left and follow him. She does not show up at the station which confirms his pessimistic attitude. He returns to Buenos Aires and writes a letter, condemning her of making love with Hunter, but later he rules upon sending to her. He tries to convince a postal employee to withdraw the actual letter but he does not succeed. He then comes to conclusion that it was meant to reach its recipient.
On another occasion, Castel accesses Maria by phone during which she hesitantly accepts to meet him but promises him that their meeting will not be very pleasing and probably cause more mischief to him. She fails to show up at Buenos Aires and Castel concludes that she is a prostitute who does not only cheat on her husband with him but with other men like Hunter and other men. This shows the character of Castel as a dictator in their relationship with Maria as he does not consider the circumstances which lead to Maria not showing up. In a fit of anger, he awaits outdoor for visitors to exit the house. In the meantime, his nervousness developed to the extent where he feels that they are not in good relations in life in parallel pathways while his life is a solitary tunnel, in which all his stages of life are passing, all his youth, infancy and whole life.
The theme of love and loneliness is clearly brought out in the story. This is contributed by the modern world’s effects on the life of Castel by substituting attributes of humankind he had with automation and separating him from people. Despite being dehumanized, he exhibits human attributes of being alone and he tries to conquer this by looking for unconditional love. His perception of love, nevertheless, is not giving anything away and he tries to show it by unaccepted mechanical techniques. These techniques involve loving Maria on account of apparent similarity, pestering her, creating fundamental speculations and taking into consideration unrealistic occurrences that may come out of them.
Juan Pablo Castel resorts to love as the answer to his loneliness; nevertheless he does not have a realistic understanding of it. He does not have the knowledge of how to cope with the subsequent emotions, and he is self-centered and does not put into consideration its other partner’s perceptions. He assumes that love is only a one way process where one gets satisfaction on his side while the other partner does not.
Maria is also perceived as loose in her love life because she spends most of her time with other men like Castel and Hunter more than she does with her husband, Allende. This culminates in Castel concluding that she is actually a prostitute and the consequence is the murder of her by Castel. Throughout the story she is less frequently with her husband as can be seen when she goes to exhibition of Cartel’s painting and Visits Hunter’s ranch. This is evidence that her love for her marital husband is not strong.
Maria is also depicted as unable to control her desire for men .While going to visit her other man, Hunter at the ranch, she allows Castel to go along with her yet Castel is one of her male lovers. This results in Castel discovering that she was actually a prostitute who not only cheated on her husband with him, but also with other men like Hunter. Little did she know that this public display of affection would culminate to her own death.
The theme of dehumanization of modern society is also clearly brought out. In the society where Castel lives, material needs are of little or of no concern. The advancement of technology has reached a point where fundamental needs are achieved and artistic, complicated self-awareness is the determining factor of human consciousness. Castel is found to be in this existentialism indecisiveness. His profession is painting dealing with artistic aspects of life and not realistic way of life. He can live as a person independent of the society. It can be concluded that the society and humankind are abhorrence to him. He perceives no human connection worth his consideration. Yet he expects some kind of human understanding from fellow human beings. This is what drives him into obsession with Maria. When Maria notices a window in one of his paintings, he concludes that he has found this relationship. The occurrence is odd but in the business, artificial world he dwells in it looks normal. All his expectations of nature of the world turn futile. On the other hand, the climax of the book that human interaction is both dehumanizing and deceitful. This is observed by Castel on Maria with the actions of unfaithfulness he feels when he discovers that she previously had a husband and a string of lovers.
Finally the aspect of logic is clearly examined. In the book, logic is fundamental to Castel. Throughout the narration, Juan Pablo Castel, continuously tries to make any kind of decision in his day by day circumstances. His perception of life as being in existential leads him to apply a probabilistic technique to gauge the potential results for each of the decisions he makes that come his way. In consideration of all the decisions he has to make, he anticipates a variety of different scenarios which he has to overcome. In the occasions where the number of scenarios involved is three or four, Castel selects the one that offers less hurting to him. Occasionally, he decides not to pick, for instance, he made up his mind not to come close to Maria at the company, but to pass the time for a future occasion. In the process of not making a decision, novel arrays of challenges are presented to him. This characteristic may seem absurd but in actual sense, it is simply revealing the existentialist logic developed by Juan Castel towards his approach to life challenges.
Sabato, E. (2008). El Tunel: Novela Esenciales (Essential) Esenciales Series Esenciales (New York, N.Y.). New York: Harper Collins.