Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.
Death. Death stuns even the most hard-hearted. Some never reconciles with the malevolent face of one’s demise; some are so frightened they dare nothing; some represses its existence and lives on; some embrace it and smiles at its presence. When a beloved one dies, how do we live on, act, dust oneself off? The short story ”... Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” from 2010 by Robin Black tells the tale of our protagonist Sarah and the way in which she deals with her brother’s death. The tale is narrated through a 1st person point of view and varies between past and present tense. Furthermore Black uses flashbacks to the protagonist’s childhood and adolescence, with particular reference to her and her gang’s favorite leisure-time activity which was performing a piece that depicts the wives of King Henry the VIII and their fates. We are introduced to several persons with more or less relevance to Sarah. In order to categorize them a wee bit they can be separated into childhood and adolescence versus adulthood. In our protagonist’s childhood we are introduced to her brother Terry, her neighbor opposite Molly Denham, her next door neighbor Jeff Mandelbaum and Johnny Sanderson. In her adult life we are introduced to her husband Lyle, and their daughter Coco and son Mark. The short story is composed by an alternation between flashbacks and present time. In the opening the flashback is distinctly separated from the succeeding passage in present tense, but as we gradually dive into the short story the structure becomes less distinct and more random. A major theme in the short story is death. Death as the end of one’s life, and the life stealing death that takes away our dear ones. It deals with how to react, how to come to terms with such a dreadful experience, how to protect and how to survive. Moreover the story tells of childhood, family, sibling love, repression and friends from the past. Conclusively this leads to the tale of how Sarah...
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