”… Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”
Many of us have tried losing someone we love, maybe a family member or a friend, and afterwards had to deal with it and get on with our own lives. This is also the dilemma in this short story where we meet a mother, Sarah, who has to help her son through a hard time, after he has lost his best friend, Peter, in a car accident. Her son’s loss reminds her of when she as a child lost her brother Terry. This essay is based on the short story “… Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” written in 2010 by Robin Black. In this essay the focus will be on the structure, the themes and the use of symbols in the short story. The short story is written in present time, but with a lot of flash-backs in past tense to Sarah’s childhood. The short story begins with a flash-back to Sarah’s childhood when she, her brother and 3 of their friends, Johnny Sanderson, Jeff Mandelbaum and Molly Denham, are playing a role play about King Henry VIII of England and his wives. In this flash-back we also hear about Terry’s death and throughout the short story we hear about him and Mark and his loss by turns. It is like the two deaths and the part where the families are dealing with it are written in a parallel to each other. In this short story we deal with all the different stages of death as themes; how to deal with it, how it affects us and how to move on, including death in a young age. The dealing with death is quite different in reality than in the role play. “And Terry would hold his face in both his hands, his shoulders heaving in enormous, racking, make-believe sobs. But in real life, it was all silent hours. Vacant stares” (Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. Robin Black, p. 4, l. 99-101). The mood around Terry is now full of silence, while in the role play they symbolized death with tears and sobs. Death was a game, but it changes as soon as Terry gets sick. Because Sarah has been through this kind of loss and sorrow by losing her brother, she now 30 years...
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