The World Today
In the short story, “The Train From Rhodesia”, there are many different ideas and symbols hidden to get the reader’s interpretation of the story, as well as to get a wide variety of interpretations so the story appeals to more people. This way the people who read the story, can get more out of it by forming their own opinions of the reading that is not clearly stated. Therefore, the readers get to draw their own conclusion from the story, and discover why the author wrote it the way he or she did, and what the author means by the way they wrote it. The train that comes into Rhodesia, doesn’t come very often, but when it comes to this poor, little, old, run-down village, it is like a gathering place for mixed goods, feelings, and messages from the train people, and the poor people, as well as a husband and wife.
The train is calling out, I am coming I am coming This way it gives the village people and all the other people, time to gather around and get their little shops ready, because they know the train with all the customers and tourists is coming. This is just like in real life, when a train, or plane, or bus, gets into a city or town, the people just seem to flock around where all the tourists are coming in at. This way the local businessmen and women can sell their goods to tourists that are looking for things like souviners and such. Although this train stop doesn’t sound too flashy, or pretty, it does seem to have quite a gathering for a little African village, with lots of goods and crafts too.
One of the crafts is a lion that is carved out of wood. The lion has many different symbols and meanings with its appearance. It has a black tongue that seems to make it different. It is almost like an omen, just as crossing a black cat’s path is a bad omen. When a person crosses the path of a black cat it is supposed to give that person bad luck. That is what the author wanted people to think when they read the story. It does turn out to be bad luck, because as soon as the train takes off the lion falls over on its side and no one seems to care. The lion also tells you a hidden story about their marriage. It shows that they don’t like to talk to each other and in a marriage if they do not talk a lot, they don’t have many chances of having a good marriage. It is obvious that they don’t talk much to each other, because they both like the lion, but yet can’t tell each other how they feel. The black tongue of the lion represents that they have tortured each other with bad names in the past, and the burning represents the times that they have burnt each other time, after time. The lion was not only hand carved but was also burnt to give it color and make it appear more real. The lion seems to appeal to the couple by far more than any of the other carved ones. It is ironic that they both want the lion because a lion symbolizes pride and respect, but yet neither of the two has enough guts to tell the other one how much they want it. Then after the man buys it, the lion gets no respect and has no pride, because no one picks it up after it falls over. It seemed like they heard how much the price was and kind of go their own separate ways. Then at the last second, the man buys the lion for quite a bit cheaper than the starting price. The wife of the man doesn’t like this. It is just as if it were a real-life situation, because the woman doesn’t seem to want to take the lion, when she finds out how much her husband paid for it. Sometimes women seem to like the most expensive things even though the cheaper things would work just fine, or maybe even better. The biggest thing that the lion symbolizes is that the couples marriage is messed up, because the they cant understand each other because they don’t talk, and yet the train is like their life it keeps going to the next stop whether they are ready for it or not. That shows that the world isn’t going to stop for their fights.
“The old man held the lion up to her still smiling, not from the heart, but at the customer.” (308) This shows that these people who sell the items for the tourists don’t always care about the people they are selling to. They only care about getting their product sold, and making their money. These people tend to be heartless most of the times, because they figure that they will probably never see any of the tourists ever again. This is the way it normally goes in real life too. Someone who buys an item, like the carved lion, can’t return it because these items are usually nonrefundable.
This story shows that people need to realize the messages and feelings that are past on by tourists and the natives, because the natives might always seem nice and trustworthy, but how can they really be trusted when a person doesn’t know them for more than just their vacation time. This story shows us how important it is to talk to your spouse, otherwise people just aren’t as happy when they don’t understand each other and the only way to understand is to talk. This story also shows that people need to be smart with their money too, because the lion was nothing to the two of them after the train started again. It was a big waste of money and that is why people run into problems with money because they don’t use it wisely.