What does the axolotl story mean?

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Julio Cortazar' "Axolotl" is a wonderful magic realism story. It combines incredible events with realistic details and relates them all in a matter-of-fact tone.

An axolotl is a larval salamander indigenous to Central America. Unlike other salamanders, it remains in its aquatic larva stage for life, rather than morph into an amphibious adult.

In the story, the narrator first recounts his obsession with visiting a public aquarium to watch a group of axolotls and then relates his eventual metamorphosis into one of these animals. The story ends with the axolotl wondering whether the man looking into the tank will write a story about axolotls.

The theme of the story could be: Intense thought can cause the mind to blur reality and fantasy. Another could be: Genuine communication is unattainable.

One wonders if he really turned into an axolotl. That adds to the story's magic qualities.

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