, , , , ,

The significance of Julio Cortázar’s title of his short story “Blow-Up” sparked a variety of possible meanings while I was reading the text. Although the text mentions a few variations of the word “blow” (“blowing” on 118, 119 and “blown” on 119), the title’s form of the word “blow” appears in a simile: “The kid had ducked his head like boxers do when they’ve done all they can and are waiting for the final blow to fall” (128). The “final blow” takes the form of a photograph, a depiction that traps the kid’s stance and expression in a representation of frozen time. “Blow-Up” also refers to the narrator’s blown up version of that particular photograph, although he refers to the magnified copy as an “enlargement” (126). The title also corresponds to the overwhelming burgeoning of one of the photo’s figures: the clown-man reflected in the kid’s eyes. The narrator imagines the man’s image as expanding until he “blotted out the island” (131).

Cortázar allows these various connections to the term “blow-up” to emphasize the outbreak of possible interpretations from a single source. The term indicates movement, but the results of the action “blow” can produce many outcomes, such as stagnancy after the final blow of a fight, or adoration or helplessness as shown through the narrator’s photo enlargement.