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The Orient Express nurtured a generation fascinated with railways and their magic. But in novels, the symbolisms of trains are usually under-analyzed.

There are many reasons why authors incorporate things into their novels. These can play an integral role in their characters’ and plots’ progress or a crucial factor that pushes the stories forward.

A typical example, both in literature and reality, is the existence of wedding rings. Although these are regular accessories, they are rid of any profound meaning to some. But these rings are everything to readers and those directly involved in the matter. They symbolize commitment, the ardent connection, and the union between two people, which changes the story’s flow. It also strengthens people’s pattern of behavior, an item that serves as a mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities.

On the other hand, these elements may convey a metaphor or symbolisms readers would have fun decoding. Unlike the previous purpose, things representing a particular idea or symbolism don’t have to be presented in the story. They can be mentioned sparsely, or readers only notice the presence in the background unless they uncover the story and realize these items mean more.

A Representation Of An Abstract Idea

Literature allows authors to experiment with how they deliver and convey messages and stories they wish to impart. They can either do so straightforwardly or by utilizing figures of speech and details that enhance the story and its narrative.

A typical means of doing this is by concealing meanings behind mundane things.

The abundance of colors mentioned in narratives can convey different feelings or ideas by the characters. This gives readers a fuller glimpse into their experiences and the emotions or insights that accompany them. The presence of broken mirrors in any part of the story also conveys an underlying emotional state that the central characters are undergoing, giving more depth to the narrative.

Beyond adding more meaning to the story and involving more consequential stakes for characters, there are many reasons why authors utilize symbolism. They make the reading experience more enjoyable. Readers may realize late into the story what they genuinely mean and discover a newer perspective of the story or the characters involved. It’s an element that provides readers with an unexpected twist they will surely enjoy and relish.

For instance, author Stephen Lloyd Auslender has written a story with the development of a streamlined steam engine as a pivotal plot point. Readers may focus more on the characters’ journeys and endeavors, and this aspect may easily be brushed off. But the presence of this train can also serve as a significant symbol defining the family’s relationship and the protagonist’s bond with the others.

This book proves that almost anything can convey an idea when crafted well. As for the usage of trains, it’s not surprising how they can also hold meaning beyond their transportation purposes.

The Symbolisms Of Trains In Literature

Most countries have their railway system uniquely invented and designed to reflect their culture. However, beyond providing people with a mode of movement, the symbolisms of trains reflected in narratives present the manifold of purpose and sense they serve in society.

There are many profound symbolisms of trains in literature. They may be commonly presented as a commodity, but weaved deeply into every distance they travel is an elucidation of human experience.

So, what are the common symbolisms of trains?

Life Journey

As a means of traveling, trains evoke a visual imagery of a journey. It paints a desire to reach a destination. Although trains commonly provide a smooth transition, authors can incorporate different obstacles to reflect life’s authenticity. It being a journey is one of the most common symbolisms of trains, simply because it serves the most evident purpose.

On a more profound level, trains in literature can symbolize a journey the character wishes to impart on and finish. Just as the commodity passes through different landscapes, people also undergo different experiences and uncharted territories. This journey through life can be defined similarly to how a train ride goes, making it an effective symbolism in literature.

One’s Destiny

Another symbolism of trains involves the complicated nature of people’s fate. Train rides may seem like a straightforward mechanism. But there are different possibilities of it going wrong. It can be derailed or delayed before reaching its destination. This can be comparable to the uncertainty in people’s destinies. But it also likewise carries the reassurance of a fulfilling ending.

Symbolisms of trains convey that people traverse life without certainty. They may face unexpected challenges and obstacles. But regardless of these, they will arrive at their destination.

Passage of Time

There’s something nostalgic about trains. Whether it’s the modern type or the classic one, traveling by train gives a different sense of excitement. But beyond this nostalgia, trains also provide a quick glimpse of time relentlessly passing by.

Similar to how trains don’t have any stops midway or in between stations, life also doesn’t stop or slow down unless people allow it to.

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