A Lion on the Freeway: An Analysis

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The symbol of the lion represents everything in the short story "A Lion on the Freeway". It was written by Nadine Gordimer in her short story book called The Embrace of a Soldier. Gordimer was an African writer, and her stories have been translated into many languages including English for many people to enjoy.

The story "A Lion on the Freeway" is about a lion which has escaped onto the freeway. Gordimer describes the scenery of a town with a zoo in it and how the main character can always hear the animals making noise, especially the lion. This fiercely described story is short, but makes a very important point about the lion in general.

To Gordmer, the lion is a symbol of wild power, and its original home in Africa was also where this author once lived. A popular phrase people hear of the lion is that it is the "king of the jungle". That single phrase describes the lion perfectly, because the lion is a being of great power and passion and its strength and boldness is recognized throughout the world. In this story, it is contained in a cage, not taken from the wild, but born there. The lion may have been born in captivity, but its wild instincts are definitely still alive within the lion's spirit. This is why the lion would yearn for a way out of its cage and search for freedom.

At the end of the story, though, Gordimer explains of how the people must capture this lion and stop it once again, if not kill it. Because of its great power and strength, the people are afraid of it and therefor must find a way to stop the lion before he causes damage. This may represent raw human emotions and feelings from deep inside the human race. People cannot let these raw instincts escape to keep order in the world, so then we must keep them locked away inside where no one can see them. Secrecy. As in the lion, these feelings are powerful, but in society instincts must be controlled. However, do people always control their emotions and what they feel...
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