The Train From Rhodesia Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

"The Train from Rhodesia"

The Train from Rhodesia, a short story written by Nadine Gordimer, takes place during a brief stop in an impoverished African village. The story concerns a young married couple, in which the young woman is interested in a carved lion an old native has to sell but claims the price is too high. Her husband later bargains with this old native and obtains the lion for an unfairly low price, which causes his wife to feel isolated and confused towards this complex society regarding racism. At first the story did not seem to deal with racial problems, but with the use of symbolism and imagery Gordimer was able to illustrate the racial discrimination and the social divide between middle and upper class citizens and the poor African natives in South Africa.

In the short story, The Train from Rhodesia, the title is very important in symbolizing and taking part in converting the theme of this short story. The train being the main symbol in this story takes place both in the beginning and end of the story. The title is refereeing how a train form Rhodesia, a place where the white class is in control, show that the wealthy and superiority are in the train. This leads us to realize from the beginning of the story that there is going to be a social barrier between the rich and poor, or better yet between the whites and the blacks. The title is very important and has important meanings when dealing to portray the issue of racial discrimination, which the natives constantly received from the whites, in many different aspects.

At the beginning of the story Gordimer emphasizes the social divide between the rich and poor. Nadine Gordimer symbolizes poverty in many ways throughout this story. Having the children barefooted and with nothing to sell begging for pennies depicts how impoverished the village they live in is. Gordimer adds to this illustration when she describes the stationmaster's children, "the children had just collected their mother's two loaves of bread" (Gordimer 51). This illustrates the hunger and malnutrition that the villagers and their children go through. Meanwhile, the train's passengers sit comfortably in their cabins with enough food to throw away. "A girl had collected a handful of the hard kind, that no one like, out of the chocolate box, and was throwing them to the dogs," portrays the rich and wealthy life the passengers inside the train possess (Gordimer 52). Another symbol of poverty is raise by the bargain between the old native selling a lion sculpture and a young white husband which wishes to buy this lion for his wife. The old man at first is asking for "three and six" in which later due to his severe necessities and after realizing that the young couple is not going to buy it for the prize being asked has to lower the prize to "one and six." (Gordimer 52, 53) This illustration recognizes the old man's poverty due to the fact that he had no choice but to accept whatever scraps of money...

Find Another Essay On The Train from Rhodesia

Economic Development in Zimbabwe Essay

1515 words - 6 pages future.PoliticsBy 1960 Rhodesia was a country of two factions: the ruling white minority who wanted complete independence from the United Kingdom and the indigenous African majority who wanted greater control of their country and an end to institutional racism. On November 11, 1965 in a step to hasten along political change white progressives announced the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) thereby declaring their independence from Great

Economic Development in Zimbabwe Essay

1451 words - 6 pages unofficially agreed upon. As a condition of this agreement Rhodesia was grantedindependence from the Commonwealth, and all U.N. sanctions were lifted with a decree that Rhodesia was to beinternationally recognized as a political state .In late February, 1980 free democratic election were held in Rhodesia for the first time with Mugabe's ZANU(PF) achievingan absolute majority. Upon the victory of his party Mugabe was asked to form the first


1815 words - 7 pages . Another power imbalance occurred when a new wave of settlers came from the British empire and Europe, after World War II, thereby increasing the number of white Europeans in Rhodesia. The result, from 1946 to 1955, was intensified white oppression. In 1955 there was a new attempt to organize the blacks under the African National Youth League. This group, with Josh Nucomo as leader, staged some bus boycotts similar to the strikes held by the

Zimbabwe: From Ian Douglas Smith to Robert Mugabe.

2045 words - 8 pages British colony with responsibility for all government functions except foreign affairs. It is important to realize that the area of Rhodesia was already inhabited by native peoples but was settled after 1888 by Europeans who displaced the natives from traditional land holdings#. The country had excellent farmland and other natural resources, which attracted European immigrants. The new immigrants had a demand for further farming lands which lead

Africa in de-colonization.

554 words - 2 pages is a part of the 'Portuguese Union'. The Africans people want freedom like other countries. They started to use guerrilla attacks toward the Portuguese, and got help from Cuba. In 1974 there was a revolution in Portugal that gave Angola and Mozambique independence.Rhodesia/Zimbabwe- In 1964 northern Rhodesia became independent with a new name called Zimbabwe. Southern Rhodesia was a much more serious problem. Many white had settled there. The British refuse to give the country independence. So in 1965 the government of Rhodesia made a "unilateral Declaration of Independence" Which means that they declare Rhodesia as independent whether the

Black and White; Is that alright?

723 words - 3 pages one point in history occupied most of the world held onto Zimbabwe like a biting tick showed that whites had full power. Our protagonist, Bobo Fuller is a little white girl living with her white family in Rhodesia. She was born in England but moved to Rhodesia when she was two years old. Does the fact that she’s from England make you assume she is white? Yes, she is in fact white. But she was raised in Rhodesia, considering herself both English

"The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay. Answers question, "What have you learned about he predominant culture of the book?"

779 words - 3 pages This essay is a multicultural book-report. It includes page number references. The book takes place in South Africa during World War II and apartheid.The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is an amazing display of apartheid in South Africa during World War II. The story follows Peekay, a young white boy, as he travels from a boarding school full of children who support Hitler, to a home with a Christian mother, to copper mines in Northern Rhodesia

Changes in Zimbabwe

1839 words - 7 pages Zimbabwe, formally known as Southern Rhodesia, is a country in Southern Africa. It gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. It also later changed from a country led by a white minority to an African leadership. These political changes brought many economic and social changes with them. Before the arrival of the British, native African tribes called the Shona and Ndebele populated Zimbabwe. In 1888, colonist Cecil

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

754 words - 3 pages other African countries began to move in similar directions. Sometimes peaceful as in Ghana's case, sometimes violent such as Kenyan rebels did, but always aiming for the same goal. With the novel being set in the 60s the air of the story is thick with this uneasy and often racist attitude stemming from the British. Although Rhodesia was eventually successful in gaining its independence it wasn't until 1980 when it was renamed Zimbabwe - beyond the


2342 words - 9 pages government led by Ian Smith declared independence from Britain for the country. On November 11, Ian Smith signed the Unilateral Declaration of Independence and announced Rhodesia's independence. By claiming the independence from there only made things worse for Rhodesia. The Britain refused to recognize Rhodesian as an independent state. There were economic sanctions that included stopping British purchases of Rhodesian sugar and tobacco and on

Reasons for Zimbabwe's Economic Decline

1033 words - 4 pages current situation in the State. Zimbabwe is situated in the Southern part on Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. In 1899, the United Kingdom started to observe these lands in terms of Cecil Rhodas’s British South Africa company, since then Zimbabwe was known as ‘Rhodesia’. In 1965, the prime-minister of Zimbabwe, Ian Smith, proclaimed country’s independence from Britain, but this fact was not repudiated. On 1st June 1979, in the

Similar Essays

The Train From Rhodesia And The Gold Cadillac Comparison

1848 words - 7 pages How Do The Texts Represent The Theme Of Racial Prejudice? ‘The Train from Rhodesia’ written by Nadine Gordimer and ‘The Gold Cadillac’ written by Mildred Taylor both represent the theme of racial prejudice in their stories. Prejudice is when you prejudge someone before you know that person. ‘The Train from Rhodesia’ is set in South Africa, in the time of Apartheid, as a train full of white citizens comes into a train station and one black man

"Zimbabwe Achieved Independence Through A Combination Of Negotiation And Armed Force". Discuss, For The Period Of 1965 To 1980. (70)

1313 words - 5 pages In 1953 settlers in Rhodesia began to want complete independence from Britain as well as Dominion status. They used both negotiations and armed force in order to gain their independence.The Central African Federation was created in 1953 as it was believe that it would increase economic prosperity and maintain white supremacy. The Southern Rhodesian whites eroded black right and were unwilling to negotiate. In 1960 the British government saw the

The Rhodesian Revolution Essay

1379 words - 6 pages the white men's lands and kick them out of Zimbabwe. (Zimbabwe-Rhodesia) Works Cited Betrayal of a Nation. 27 January 2003.

The Effect Of European Values On The African Society

1122 words - 4 pages people? Oh, she is not a person' ". The African wedding is quite similar to our wedding in some aspects. Instead of having the bride's father to give his daughter away the aunts give the bride away. Other similarities include celebrations after the wedding. The Train from Rhodesia is set in a train station in Rhodesia. A train arrives at this station full of Europeans on holiday. As the train arrives many