Divorced, beheaded, survived
”Divorced, beheaded, survived” by Robin Black is a short story, which deals with an essential as well as natural - but not least hard aspect of all human lives; namely death. A story about an innocent child’s merciless introduction to adulthood and entlightment, which has effected her in her grown up life resulting in a dissociation from death.
The story starts in medias res as the main character, Sarah reminisces about the spring 1973, where she and her brother, Terry, used to act out the beheading of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England together with some other kids in the neighbourhood. The act always took place in Sarah and Terry’s idyllic backyard and their home was a rendezvous of children. At that time Sarah was only ten and her brother, Terry, twelve. They were innocent and without a care in the world, just starting to find their place in the world – their identities, as following quote states: “Johnny (…) was one of those kids who seemed to know a lot about himself before any of the rest of us had much of a clue of who we were” (p. 2, ll. 29-31). They had not become acquainted with the hard and more complex things in life yet. However we can sense an incipient fascination of death, which they approach through the act. And even though the death scene is absurd, strange and unexplored ground, all the children want to play the role as Anne - including Sarah: “Nothing pleased me more those afternoons than when, as Molly’s axe hit my neck, Johnny Sanderson would burst into spontaneous applause or even sometimes say, “Great, Sarah. Really, really great” (p. 3, ll. 45- 47). But soon Sarah would get acquainted with death in a new and unexpected way as Terry suddenly became sick and passed away at the age of only twelve. And for Sarah as well as the other children, being confronted with death in real life, was not at all like in the act. She had a very hard time coping with the loss of her brother or...
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