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The arena Essay

”The Arena” is a short story written in 2008 by Martin Golan. The story takes place in the suburbs of New Jersey where the protagonist lives. There is special focus on the main character, who is the father of two children, and who has experienced the worst in his life; when he lost his son Willie. Willie is the son of his last wife who died very early, but now he lives with his current wife and son as his only child.

In the beginning of the story he and his son are going to an Arena in town, which he describes: “It’s a circular, roughly built structure of steel and cinder block that houses an ice-skating rink hugged by bleachers to sit on… I spent many afternoon at the Arena… I could never relax… The Arena somehow manages to be too cold and too hot at the same time…” (p. 2 line 3) In the story we see the protagonist having an inner dialog with himself and he puts some question mark to it: “…Hot buttered rolls, the smell of toast, of longing itself, or is it of memory?. (p. 2 line 27) He is not comfortable with the surrounding of the Arena, because somehow it’s connected to his past.

He and his son drive very early in the morning to the Arena, and there he describes the surroundings at dawn: “We glide through darkness that is not real darkness but the early morning kind, darkness about to lift… It feels as if I am breaking through, that I am, at long last, seeing”. (p. 2 line 14). There is also used contrast in the short story, like they drive when it’s dawn, and the light and darkness becomes one, which could be a symbol of trauma or disturbance: “I check my rear-view mirror; all I find are narrowing streets and sidewalks skipping backwards…

I sense that I am seeing not only ahead but also behind, that I’m glimpsing my future as well as my past”. (p. 2 line 17). These colours are the contrast of time, and also the past and the future. The darkness symbolizes his past and is a contrast to the breaking light at dawn.

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