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"Rails Of Sin" Essay

1441 words - 6 pages

Temptation is not a new thing for most people. The song “Long Black Train” entertains the idea that there’s almost always temptation coming, which is often spread by the people who have given in to it. Because of this, one must always watch out for temptation, and look towards faith so that one can resist it. This resistance to temptation comes from the peace brought about through your faith. Through the Lord, one will be able to defy temptation and win their battle against it. Everyone needs to stay away from the train and all that is on it, so that there is no doubt in the heart about wanting to give into temptation. Temptation is a common thing for people to face, but individuals must ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, a metaphor is used to say that the train is like a beauty that makes people stare, which can be a form of temptation, but continues on to say that “its only destination is the middle of nowhere,” (19-20). These lines confirm that the train is a representation of temptation because when one falls into temptation’s trap, their whole lives can be swayed off track because they are consumed by their temptation. In addition to the symbolism of the train, it is also described to be black, a color which often has a connotation of evil and in this context can represent sinful things. An explicit example is where the poem states that it runs on “rails of sin” and “that devil’s drivin’ that long black train” (3,22). This can be related back to the theme, since the largest symbol in the poem represents temptation and words like “sin” and “devil” are not especially associated with turning to faith. Also, the train can be a motif, as it appears throughout the poem multiple times (1, 4, 8, 12-13, 16, 19-21). Having this symbol appear so frequently in the poem additionally reiterates the thought that temptation is a common thing. Another way that the train symbolism is important to the theme is that irony can also be found within it. The speaker says that “there is protection and there’s peace the same: burnin’ your ticket for that long black train,” (7-8). This is an example of situational irony since these lines can be interpreted to mean that by burning the ticket to the train of temptation that runs on tracks of sin, one is protected from burning in hell. This is a key part in relation to the theme because the theme mentions that turning to faith can keep you from temptation. Some religions have a belief that burning in hell can be the result of sinning and not turning to faith. Thus, the irony of one burning the ticket to be saved from burning in hell has reinforced the theme. Personification is also found in the song, and symbolism can be found within the personification. The speaker begins the poem by saying, “There’s a long black train comin’ down the line, feeding off the souls that are lost and cryin’,” (1-2). It personifies the train, creating the image of the locomotive devouring the souls that are lost. This can be related back to the message of the song, because the theme states that if one turns to faith, they are able to resist temptation. The lost souls can be a symbol for those that did not turn to faith and therefore the train “fed off of it”. This could restate the concept that temptation is widespread, but only those that don’t turn to faith become the ones who are lost to the train. Although the literary devices and figurative language were essential for this poem to get its point across, its sound devices were just as crucial.

Both rhyming and the usage of a shift and a caesura work together to emphasize the theme of “Long Black Train” through sound devices. While there is no particular rhyme scheme in this poem, there are...

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