Asked in Short Stories
Critical analysis of The Train from Rhodesia?
March 27, 2010 5:37PM
"The train called out, I'm coming, I'm coming, but there was no answer".
Lack of joy, happiness and prosperity in the small unnamed village is aptly displayed by the unavailability of the answer from the village, despite the train announcing its arrival.
There are two distinct compartmentalization of humans pictured in a realistic approach. There are poor village vendors waiting desperately for the arrival of the train on one side; on the other, there are passengers who are passively involved in the act of being the only source (perhaps) of the vendors survival. The train, therefore is a metaphor for a divide between the rich and the poor, the aristocratic and the laymen, the happy and the sad, the frivolous and the desperate and many more.
A particular women gets interested in a piece of art, a wooden lion kept for sell but refrains herself from buying it for its price. Her husband bargains "for fun" and in the brink of the train's departure and in fact, when the train has started moving, the poor vendor runs after the man and sells the piece of art in a price as low as one shelling and six pence, the lion, which in reality is worth three and six.
Guilt engulfs the wife who realizes the fact that her husband had not bargained for the lion, but for his poverty, his under-privileged state. How much poorer could a poor be bargained to be? Perplexed by the 'realism' of the terribly beautiful lion, its tail, sinews, mare and so forth, she realizes that the poor was deprived of his rightful dignity and the lion of its rightly price.
Indeed, 'The Train from Rhodesia' elicits the lack of concern for the poor.