The Arena

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The Arena
“We glide through darkness but the early morning kind, darkness about to lift.” It is without discussion an adventure and an experience to have a child. Mostly a feeling of great love follows. But definitely a responsibility and fear follows. The fear of being insufficient and maybe even the fear of endangering what you love the most. This is because our identity changes.

In 2008 Martin Golan wrote the short story The Arena. The story is about a father and his son. The father is driving his son to the arena, where he is going on a trip with his lacrosse team by bus. The story circles around the protagonist of the story, who is the father. It is written in his point of view. The story consists of very little dialogue, which only is between him and his son. Mostly the all-knowing reader is confronted with the father’s inner dialogue as if the reader was inside his head. This and the point of view are also shown in the language of the story. It is informal and spoken language that is written to look like a dialect: “I spent many an afternoon at the Arena when my boy was small” (page 2, line 4-5). It has the effect that it easier to see through the father’s eyes and identify with him. This leads to a characterization of the father. Already in the first few lines you sense a strong emotional connection to his son or children in general: “The Arena somehow manages to be too cold and too hot at the same time, and my afternoons there were equally mixed, the physical discomfort eased by seeing my child dizzy with the boundless delight children take in simple games” (page 2, line 6-8). The father seems fascinated by the childish dewy-eyed way of thinking. But the most significant is that just seeing his own child happy counterbalances his physical discomfort. Now his son is a teenager and he is driving him to the arena at six a.m. on a Saturday morning. “The early weekend hour, the stillness we alone are here to break, is like the drive to a hospital for...
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