The Arena – Analysis

Published: 2021-06-29 07:03:11
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Category: English

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The Arena – AnalysisSometimes in one's life, everything is not quite going as planned. It can be little things as bad hair days, failed assignments in school etc. or it could also be much bigger things such as divorce, heartbreaks or even death. These small and big problems all have one thing in common; they are all possible to move on from, even though that might seem impossible at the time. In the short story “The Arena” from 2008, Martin Golan describes the difficulties of moving on.The story is told through “the father” and his thoughts, which makes the father a 1. Person narrator. The entire story takes place during a ride from the father’s home to a building in the town called the arena, where the father is supposed to drop off his son so that the he can join his Lacrosse team on the bus waiting for them. Throughout the ride, we hear the father's thoughts. We get to know that the father now has a child, sitting next to him, and a wife. But these are not the first kid and wife the father has ever had. He once had another child and another wife. The boy was named Willie, and he was an adopted child. The father says that the life with Willie and his former wife; “Was a good life”[1]. In general, the father seems to dwell upon his “old life” because of his inability to focus on what is going on around him. He is so busy wondering, that he forgets to turn when he’s supposed to; “”Why didn’t you turn at Chestnut?” my son asks… I had missed a turn. I do this a lot”[2]. The father does not seem to be present, and he does not seem to be present at all because he “misses all those turns”. After the father misses a turn the son begins to worry, because he is afraid of missing the bus with his teammates. So therefore, the father decides to speed up, but quickly afterwards he reminds himself that he has to drive safely, because “You always have to think of safety with children”[3], and at this time the reader comes to realize, that something bad has happened, during an earlier ride. The son interrupts the fathers thought by asking the question; “What in the world is going on?”[4]. The son sees blinking lights, policemen, and emergency vehicles, and assumes that there has been an accident, but the father try to calm him down by saying that it is probably just a broken traffic light. But quickly afterwards we are back in the fathers thoughts and he indirectly gives us a clue to what happened to his first son Willie. “The horror of a serious accident is how it stops time. You’re driving down a road and the next second your life explodes, fixing you on that spot forever, to be relived for the rest of your life”[5]. Here it seems pretty clear that Willie died in a car accident, probably with the father driving. The reason why it is assumed that the father drove the car is because of him and his former wife’s way of coping with their horrible situation; “We attended a group for parents of children who died in preventable accidents…”[6].By the fact that the title of the group says “preventable accidents”, it is safe to say that the father was probably behind the wheel during the accident. The father tells about him and his former wife, and how they are having trouble dealing with their everyday life, after the death of their child. “Everything we did seemed to have quotation marks around it”[7]. This tells us that nothing really matters anymore, and there is no longer any point in life. During the ride the father keeps on looking in his rear mirror[8], which could symbolize himself staying in the past, and having troubles in moving on, even though he has a new life now, with a new family. When the father and his new son reaches the arena, the son runs out to play with the others and at right now, looking at his son playing with the other kids, the father comes to a realization. “Previous arenas are nothing compared to this one. I will stand aside as my son enters his own arenas; I don’t really have much choice”[9].

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