The short story ”The Arena”, written in 2008 by Martin Golan, circles around an unnamed protagonist and narrator, who is driving his son to the Arena, where he is to make his bus for the lacrosse trip. The themes of the story involve the strong bond between child and parent, escaping ones past and self-acknowledgement. The assignment partly focuses on the way the story is structured and on the use of contrasts as well as an interpretation and analysis of the story.
“The Arena” is written with a special focus on the protagonist, who is the father of two children, one with his current wife, and one who suffered an early death with his last wife. It takes place in the suburbs of New Jersey and the protagonist has been living
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The contrast of colours connects with the contrast of time, the past and the future. The darkness represents his past in contrast to the breaking light at dawn as a symbol of self-consciousness and self-realization. He describes the drive as a drive to a hospital for a birth, or in an ambulance with an injured child. The description is a memory from his past, where he has lost a son named Willie. This memory, or trauma, has been consuming him the past time, and he describes it as a dream: “Yet anxiety churns inside me, brought on by the ambulance memory, a memory so integrated it felt like a dream I had remembered.”. The previous son of his is the only character in the short story that is to be named. This illuminates his importance of the story, which is strengthened by the protagonists longing for his past with Willie and his previous wife: “… my town is a stranger’s bedroom I somehow awoke in, stumbling onto colors and textures never seen before… I awaken inside this life and check the time (in the ice-blue digital clock, crisp, exact), and hope I can fall back asleep”. His present is an escape from his past, where time is an ice-blue digital clock, representing his melancholic mood and materialistic “robot-like” existence, bound to the colourlessness of the everyday routine life of the 21st century. His