The Train from Rhodesia Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Train from Rhodesia.
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Race and Racism

In South Africa, apartheid, the legal separation of races, became law in 1947. It is not necessary for Gordimer to mention the race of the characters in the story. Readers in the 1950s understood that the "old native" was black and the rich tourists were white. In a society so harshly divided, Gordimer writes of an instance in which the two races interact, thus revealing the patronizing attitudes of whites towards blacks and the blacks' virtual enslavement and dependency on the whites. The whites, moreover, are not native to the country; just as the train passengers are merely "tourists" in the village that exists frozen in time before and after the train leaves. The villagers are shown as belonging to the land: "the sand became the sea, and closed over the children's black feet softly and without imprint." In contrast, the white tourists are removed from nature...

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This section contains 861 words
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