During Roelf’s stay in Simon’s shack, the two men share multiple loaves of bread, which represent their growing connection and the basic human experiences that supersede racial barriers. The recurring instances of splitting a loaf of bread call to mind the notion of “breaking bread,” an idiom that describes how people can establish a meaningful connection over a meal. In The Train Driver, Simon literally “breaks” his bread to share with Roelf, and he splits the loaf exactly in half so he and Roelf can share it equally. This act deconstructs some of the societal hierarchies each man occupies, positioning them instead as equals. The last time Roelf and Simon share bread, they sweeten it with apricot jam, which prompts both characters to share their favorite sweeteners from childhood: Roelf liked name-brand syrup, while Simon holds fond memories of gathering wild honey with his father. Their lives have been differently shaped by race and class, but at their core both men are just that––men. They share the same human need for nourishment and the enjoyment of sweets, even if their access to those things is dictated by the presence or absence of privilege. The Train Driver makes clear that racism is a huge, infrastructural problem that cannot be fixed by individual moments of connection. However, those connections are still important, and moments such as sharing bread speak to the fundamental humanness of all people, which racism seeks to deny.
Loaves of Bread Quotes in The Train Driver
SIMON: Roofie! There is bread and apricot jam….A little sweetness is good.
ROELF: The best is golden syrup on fresh white bread when it is still nice and warm. You ever had that?
ROELF: You must try it some time. Lyle's Golden Syrup. When I was a little boy and we didn't have jam or syrup my ma used to sprinkle white sugar on my bread.
SIMON: When I was young there by Hluleka, me and my father, we used to look for wild honey in the bush. It’s also nice.