Every parent’s worst nightmare is undoubtedly to lose a child. Such a grievous disaster can often be thwarted, which unquestionably makes the misery and heartache much more difficult to cope with. The feeling of failure and guiltiness, to have let down your child in order for this to happen mixed with misery often hits the parents like a thunderstruck, but how is it to move on after such a heart-breaking rout? The short story written by Martin Golan in 2008, “The Arena” tells a story of a father from his own point of view, who has to continuously fight his own mind’s will to drift away from the present and into the past as he cannot stop reminding himself of the loss of his previous son, Willie.
As the father’s previous life seems to overtake his new one right in front of his eyes because of his constant reminding of his son, the distinction between his past and his present steadily vanishes. The diminishing separation of his past and present is aggravated by the structure of the text which is made to be a reflection of the protagonist’s mind. We see that the father himself is familiar with the confusion regarding which life he lives. He mentions “…I was confused for a moment which life I was in” (l. 53-54) and “I had missed my turn. I do this a lot. He’s never had a father who isn’t absent-minded, who remembers where to turn on roads he’s traveled a hundred times” (l. 78-79). He says about himself that he is unsure of which life he lives and even calls himself