Symbolism of the Lion Aand the Train in "The Train from Rhodesia"

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The Train from Rhodesia is a short story written from a third person perspective yet she is reflecting on her life in that given moment. The train symbolizes life and the tracks symbolize the path you are on. Courage and strength is symbolized by the lion. The Train from Rhodesia is a journey of the failure of self-realization.

The woman realizes that her “wonderful” life isn’t so wonderful. She has money and a new husband that wants to make her happy and buy her what she wants. The woman wasn’t happy with her life and she thought that getting married would change her life path. When they stopped at a train station on there way home there was this old black man trying to sell a wood carved lion that she wanted.

The older black man who is selling the lion has a sense of ownership and dignity that he did such an amazing job on the lion that some one would pay a good price for it “and round the neck of the thing, a piece of fur (rat? rabbit? meerkat?); a real mane, majestic, telling you some how that the artist had delight in the lion” (Gordimer,44). The woman tries to bargain with the old man and stops because he won’t lower his price. The husband then bargains with the old man giving him a fraction of what he was asking for. She feels bad after she and her husband bought the lion for a lower price then what he was asking for. The old man feels happy that he got to sell the lion but the woman realizes that he deserved the money he was asking for. The women felt selfish because her husband didn’t give the old man the money he deserved. The old man was so proud of his work and he needed the money more then they did. Her young husband took control of the bargaining situation which made her feel partly responsible for his actions.

The lion “between its Vandyke teeth, in the mouth opened in an endless roar too terrible to be heard, it had a black tongue” (Gordimer,44). Her husband cheating an old black man out of his money all she can think about is how her...
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