• Maddy Rain

On "Let's Play Dead" by Senaa Ahmad

This strange little story follows the death, life, and death of a woman called Ann B. who is being put to death over and over again by her husband called Henry VIII. Despite the gruesome ways he kills her, or rather has her killed, she continues to come back to life over and over again. It explores the idea that there are multiple endings to a story, even one you know well, by including a passage about how there are other versions of this story where the events of the story unfold very differently. At the end of the story, the author explains how Ann kept surviving each death by offering various explanations as to how she kept coming back to life without firmly establishing a reason. This too is expanding upon this idea of there being multiple answers to the same question.

Here's how she did it: no one wants to see her die. Did you know it's that easy, to stay alive?

This line says to me that we keep people, like Ann Bolyn, alive in our own minds through storytelling. She is alive as long as we keep telling the story. And we keep telling the story because we don't want to see Ann die so we play her life again and again. Though we know how the story ends from the beginning we still continue to hope against hope and reality that somehow the story will turn out differently even though it doesn't.


This story has such a great rhythm to it and though it dips into the realm of the absurd, you can easily follow the story by the way the author sets up the story from the beginning. The story is set up in a way that is whimsical, even the title hints that, you are playing a game. So, the author is asking you to let go of what you think a story should be and follow along the journey as things continue to change and shift.

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