Martin Golan's 'The Arena'

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Essay on ”The Arena” Arenas can be seen as a symbol of choices or battles in a life. A choice in life could be the birth of a child. Or a battle: death. This is at least how the father in Martin Golan’s “The Arena” describes this circular, grey building in the suburbs of New Jersey. He is a man with a broken heart, because the loss of a child is one of the greatest terrors a parent can undergo. Before his current life the father had another life and an adopted son, Willie. “When Willie came into my life I thought it was the biggest arena of all.” (p. 3, line 69) There is no specific place in the short story where we are told exactly how Willie died, but as we furthermore get deeper into the text the father repeatedly mentions ambulances,…show more content…
Him and his former wife also attended to “a group for parents of children who died in preventable accidents” which elaborates on the theory: Willie dying in a car accident. These thoughts uncontrollably jump into his mind while driving on the road with his only son. He lives in an alternate universe. It is almost as if he is trapped inside his memories: a leathery, blurry bubble seals his brain. The constant change of mind is a contrast in the text, a dream world contra reality. Even the structure of the short story is a contrast as we are about half of the time inside his mind and in the other half on the road. Another contrast is darkness and light as father and son drive through the dark streets of New Jersey, “an early morning-kind darkness that is about to lift”. When the father looks in the rear-view mirror at this stage of darkness he feels like seeing not only his future but also his past, which fits in with how the darkness and light melt into each other at dawn. When he turns onto another street his rear-view mirror is suddenly clear, as if he now only sees his future and the darkness seems evaporated. This is not the only example in the text where the father feels more
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