Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” by Robin Black In this essay will I analyse and interpret Robin Blacks short story “… Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”. I will focus on the structure and the use of symbols in the short story in a part of my essay. The short story “… Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” is written by Robin Black in 2010. The short story is about a woman who thinks back of her childhood, where her brother still lived.
She recalls how everybody started ignoring her and her brother when he got sick and died.
In present her son loses his best friend and goes through the same type of sorrow. She thinks back at a stage play they used to act with some other kids in the back yard. The short story takes place on Manhattan in about 2004. The main character thinks back at her childhood in Massachusetts. In the present the main character lives with her husband, Lyle, and her two children, Mark and Coco, on Manhattan.
In the past she lived with her parents and her older brother in a house.
Her childhood home had a small yard with rosebushes and a Japanese maple. The main character is named Sarah. She went to high school and college. She has had a brief marriage with another man, but is now married to Lyle, whom she has two children with. Her to kids are 16 years old, Mark, and 12 years old, Coco. She had a brother named Terrance, called terry, who died in 1974, when he was about 14. Sarah was about 12 when he died. Sarah did not want her two kids to be closer at age, because she would not want them to be like her brother and her. But I put our second child off, and so my boy and girl were always Just a little different from the air we used to be” (Page 2, line 63-64) Sarah tries to protect her children and her self from sorrow and from being frightened, by taking down the pictures of her dead brother. “l was afraid my brother’s face would become a fearful thing for them. And maybe for me as well, with kids of my own. ” (Page 4, line 139-140) She thinks a lot of the stage play she performed in her childhood home with her brother and some of the neighbour’s kids, and how her friends vanished when Terry got sick.
She remembers how it felt and how hard it was to get trough, and she knows it will take Marks some time as well to get over his loss. “And I know that he will. It Just takes time (… ) It’ll take some more time” (Page 4, line 152-153) The short story is written with a 1st person narrator. “l don’t think about Terry everyday, anymore” (Page 4, Line 127) It is not an omniscient narrator, because we only get to now the main character’s feelings and thoughts. The short story Jumps in time by the main character’s thoughts.
It begins with Sarah’s childhood, where you near now it was betore Terry got sick and it switches to present atter we near he ied. As a reader you get thrown right into her present life, where she get a call regarding her son’s best friend’s death. Just as she is about to tell her son, we are en the past again hearing about how the time was when Terry was sick. Through the whole story does Robin Black switch from past to present and reverse in exiting moments, which catches the readers attention. We alternate between hearing about how she was and how she is now.
It is first in the very last part we hear how she got trough the rough period. Robin Black uses the tree words “divorced, beheaded and survived”, not only in the headline but more than one time in the story. The tree words are a symbol of the 3 periods you are going through, when a loved one gets sick and die. Divorced is the time where your friends start avoiding you, not because they do not love you, but because they do not know how to react. The second period is beheaded, where the loved one dies, which is the rough period. The last word is survived. Even though it has been hard, will there be light again.
You will get trough it. In the beginning of the hort story Sarah remember how everybody wanted to be Anne Boleyn, the plum role, and how Terry was the best to play her. I think Terry is a symbol of Anne Boleyn. The people surrounding them admire both of them and they both die anyways. I think they are a symbol of how nothing comes easy and you should be happy for what you have. The main themes are sorrow, dealing with sorrow and how life goes on. Trough Sarah’s thoughts we hear how you cannot be prepared to lose a person you love. Many people have a hard time dealing with death and do not know how to act.
In “. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” Robin Black describes how Sarah’s friends quietly start ignoring her and the brother begins as well. She feels alone with her sorrow, which many people do. “We had played together all our lives, and then it ended. There was no more ease between us. Not even between my brother and me. ” (Page 3, line 105-106) In the short story the main character is dealing with her sorrow by burying it. “Silences, agreed to. Intimacies, put away. ” (Page 5, Line 173) Her friends who knew her brother were avoiding her, so she could not talk to them about her feelings.