A Critical Analysis Of Martin Golan's The Arena

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“The horror of a serious accident is how it stops time.” (p. 3, l. 99). We all know the feeling when something horrible happens; the time slows to a stop, thereby, making it harder to move on from these events. Then, how is one supposed to cope with a traumatic experience such as losing a child. “The Arena” is a short story written by Martin Golan that deals with this exact issue. The short story begins in media res and is told from a 1st person narrative with an internal point of view by the protagonist, the father. It is not written chronologically as there are several flashbacks to the protagonist’s earlier life. These flashbacks are important to the structure, as they show the difficulty the father has in distinguishing his present life with his past life as shown here, “When I look again through the front I sense that I am seeing not only ahead but also behind, that I’m glimpsing my future as well as my past.” (p. 1, l. 18 - 19). This structure is furthered through the use of contrasts, “… a beautiful morning with a happy, healthy child, and fear gnawing at my stomach.” (p. 1, l. 32 - 33). The pleasant setting ruined by the protagonist’s emotions creates a stark contrast that highlights the structure’s focus on the father’s dilemma. He cannot live his life to the fullest, as everything beautiful diminishes at the thought of his…show more content…
His life falls apart when his son dies, but it is also his ‘new’ son that helps him recover from his instability, which in a lot of cases leads him to behave with apathy, as he runs off in his thoughts. To conclude “The Arena” tells the story of a protagonist with a bleak past and his journey through the New Jersey suburbs, where he in the end learns to cope with his son’s death. It is through the use of contrasts and the structure in the short story that emotions and the battle of the protagonist are

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