JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER EXTREMLY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE Contents Self-defense was something that I was extremely curious about, for obvious. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Read more · Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close · Read more · Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel. Read more. PETER ROBINSON CLOSE TO HOME A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE For Sheila The glory dropped from their youth and love, And both.
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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Mti a Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer PDF - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Foer takes on death, love, sex, pain, . Click PDF Full-Text link to view article. Click “PDF Full Text” link to.
Avoidance needs to be overcome in order to initiate the healing process see Vees-Gulani In the context of this thesis, one could analyze Foer's attempt of representing trauma as a first step of overcoming a tabooed topic, respectively September According to Uytterschout and Versluys Oskar ''[ He is nine and too smart for his age.
He combines mature thoughts and ideas with an overall behaviour typical of a child'' Even if this brief and superficial summary of the novel's protagonist is by no means an adequate characterization, it already allows the reader to sneak a peek at the character's most prominent features.
Oskar is the prime example of a thinker. Foer 1. This serves two different functions: The chapter's title highlights Oskar's diction of a typical nine year old New York City boy.
The reader almost instantly wants to complete the colloquial collocation by adding words like 'heck' or 'fuck', which however, as the reader discovers throughout the novel, also symbolize a boy's troubled mind. Oskar distracts himself by ''inventing'', which is introduced already on the very first page of the book. Making up unrealistic and naive inventions is a very important aspect of the book, which shall be discussed later at greater detail.
Nevertheless, an example of Oskar's creativity seems crucial at this point, since it presents important aspects of the protagonist's ambivalent character: I could invent [ Another good thing is that I could train my anus to talk when I farted Foer 1 2 Oskar clearly shows both, features of a child and of a creative and intelligent thinker here. His sentences are, due to their length and style, very child-like.
Yet referring to pop culture, scientific terminology even if Oskar falsely links the study of insects with British rock and French indicate his various fields of interests and general cleverness. Nevertheless, Oskar's intelligence is not a hidden aspect of his character. He likes to show off and therefore often appears -bluntly spoken- like a wise-ass to his surrounding. The question is, to which extend trauma has influenced the protagonist's current state of mind.
The death of his father has filled the boy with bitterness and resignation, which lead in some situations to rather cynical responses. Oskar is very aware of his intelligence and even explicitly states that he is very confident about his cognitive abilities.
During his first jujitsu class he tells his Sensei that he is not going to attack him, since he is a ''pacifist'', which is an expression most people of his age might not know and he therefore needs to explain to them Foer 2. Oskar's training does not only reveal his arrogance and cynism. It additionally highlights an important psychological aspect of trauma to the reader, namely lethargy. Even though Oskar responds to his trainer's questions positively by telling him that he wants to know everything about jujitsu, his distracted thoughts reveal that he really thinks about his burst dream: Oskar does not want to run his family's jewellery business in the future.
This situation is an example of the protagonist's recurring attitude of not caring about anything at all. In this context the respond: Oskar's respond also shows that his infantile curiousness has suffered from his father's death as well.
It is not only Oskar's curiousness that has suffered from his trauma. Oskar's infant joy 2 Note: In this connection, it is striking that the boy uses a recurring term to describe his state of mind. Oskar states more than 15 times troughout the whole novel that he is in ''heavy boots'', which is even the title of a whole chapter which shall be discussed later at greater detail. Oskar uses this metaphor maybe unconsciously to play down the extent of his traumatization.
Foer 86 My boots were so heavy that I was glad there was a column underneath us Foer However, Oskar's ''heavy boots'' seem to be caused by multiple factors, fear and grief being just two of them. He later reveals to the reader that the fact that his father was ''[j]ust an ordinary dad, and not a ''Great Man'' gives him ''heavy, heavy boots'' see Foer This quote shows another aspect of the boy's trauma, namely the fear that the death of his father could be regarded as something ordinary.
From an ''objective'' point of view, Thomas Schell is just one of over victims, but it is clear that Oskar does not want his father's death to be trivialized. For Oskar, his father's life and his death are something unique and special. However, the book also presents that the Oskar feels that his father's death forces him to feel bad.
This becomes clear before one of his therapy sessions: I didn't understand why I needed help, because it seemed to me that you should wear heavy boots when your dad dies, and if you aren't wearing heavy boots, then you need help. Foer The passage presented shows that Oskar deeply believes that he must not feel any better, even after years of the traumatic event. It seems impossible for him not to mourn. Oskar even indirectly criticizes people who do not feel the way he feels.
The boy's reaction underlines his survivor guilt. Oskar believes that his unsuccessful journey shows that he has not loved his father enough see Foer His search for the lock can be seen as his attempt to finally get rid of the impact of his trauma, that weighs not only on his shoulders, but especially on his feet.
His guilt stuns him like a shackle which can only be broken by finding the lock. When he finally finds out that the key he found in his father's closed has played no significant role in the unravelling of his father's life or death, and maybe in his own trauma, Oskar's dream to solve his problems seems to be shattered: I didn't know what to say. I found it and now I can stop looking? I found it and it had nothing to do with Dad? I found it and now I'll wear heavy boots for the rest of my life?
Foer The passage presented ultimately shows Oskar's fear of remaining restless and caught in a repetitive behavior for the rest of his live. The boy has hoped that finding out about the last hours of his father, or even his death, would cure him from his trauma and his guilt, metaphorically expressed through the image of Oskar's ''heavy boots''.
Even if Oskar has not reached his goal through the search for the key itself, his quest has not been not futile. This aspect, however, shall be discussed at a later point of this thesis. Coming back to the beginning of the novel, Foer presents his child protagonist as somewhat isolated. The fact that Oskar has no close friends and is being bullied at school enhances this notion.
The author's rather explicit reference to a very famous character sharing the same name as his protagonist enhances this notion: I desperately wished I had my tambourine with me now, because even after everything I'm still wearing heavy boots, and sometimes it helps to play a good beat Foer 2 A detailed comparison to Grass' Oskar at this point and would burst the frame of this paper. Yet an important aspect elicited from the comparison has to be highlighted: Oskar Shell is by no means a modern Oskar Mazerath.
While Grass' character uses his instrument, namely the tin drum, to disturb, a tambourine is a way more pleasant sounding instrument, closely connected to arts. Oskar Schell's instrument clearly serves as a therapeutic function.
Striking the tambourine and creating a tact can be seen as Oskar's desperate attempt to calm himself down by giving himself the rhythm he has lost after his father's death. It distracts him from the negative side of being a thinker, namely overthinking. Oskar's urge to invent things is clearly a realization of his trauma. He states that ''[b]eing with him [his father] made my brain quiet. I didn't have to invent a thing'' Foer Nevertheless, Oskar cannot always run away from what happened.
Holderegger states in this context, that people suffering from trauma suffer from the constant repetition of the traumatic event see There were four more messages from him [ It was Oskar does not know how to cope with the situation and therefore listens to his father's last messages over and over again.
His helplessness eventually finds its climax when he is unable to pick up the phone to talk to his father. He decides to hide the answering machine instead, downloads the exact same model, so his mother would not notice, and does not tell anybody about the calls. In this context, Zemanek states that Oskar's pain is intensified by his feelings of guilt since he does not share his father's last calls, including the ultimate one, in which he said goodbye to his family Yet she misses an important fact: Keeping his father's last calls a secret does not only intensify his pain.
It is its main source. Thomas Schell's death hit his son hard, with no doubt, but if Oskar had not listened to his father's voice mail on the answering machine his father's death would have been more abstract to him.
Oskar is not a direct victim of the terrorist attacks, since he has not actually been in or at the World Trade Center. Without the calls and the eventual guilt Oskar imposes on himself, Thomas Schell simply would have been gone forever, which of course still would have been a terrible experience for his son, but yet not terrible enough to traumatize the boy.
Holderegger states that denial is a typical feature of infantile trauma see By hiding the answering machine, Oskar not only tries to deny the impact of his father's calls on him, but also the whole situation itself. He simply does not know how to lose the burden of the guilt he carries and therefore tries to carry on as if nothing had ever happened.
Nevertheless, he still tries to communicate and desperately attempts to channel his hidden guilt and knowledge by creating a bracelet for his mother.
Oskar converts his father's last voice message into a morse code and uses different kinds and colors of beads and strings to visualize his father's last goodbye. Scheuren 14 However, Oskar did not originally plan the bracelet for his mother. In fact, he wanted to get rid of it. He states that he has wanted to give it to a homeless person, the old woman who works at the Museum of Natural history ''or even just to someone in a wheelchair'' Foer Oskar eventually decides to give it to his mother so she could wear it at her husband's funeral.
The bracelet itself is not only the haptic proof of Oskar's feeling of guilt, ot also makes his grief and the secret he buried deep inside of him concrete.
When Oskar presents his gift to his mother, the traumatic aspect of denial becomes obvious again. Oskar does, or better, cannot accept his mother's new boyfriend Ron. Even though he surely knows that his mother has at least a sexual relationship with Ron, he denies it.
His mother's new relationship, might be not that serious. It can rather be seen as proof of her own attempt to work through her own grief or trauma. Yet Oskar reacts selfishly in this situation, maybe a natural reaction for a nine year old: But I buried it all inside me'' Foer Oskar does not think about his mother's problems; he is too occupied with himself.
When it comes to the Oskar's thoughts, thinking too much again plays an important role. Foer introduces Oskar's fears by listing up the things he is afraid of: Even after a year, I still had an extremely difficult time doing certain things, like taking showers, for some reason, and getting into elevators, obviously.
There was a lot of stuff that made me panicky, like suspension bridges, germs, airplanes, fierworks, Arab people on the subway even though I'm not racist , Arab people in restaurants and coffee shops and other public places, scaffolding, sewers and subway grates, bags without owners, shoes, people with mustaches, smoke, knots, tall buildings, turbans.
Foer 36 It is obvious, that the boy has developed these fears after the ''worst day'' Foer Even though Oskar knows why is he is afraid of certain things and consciously states that ''Arab people'', ''bags without owners'', airplanes and other things directly connected to the terrorist attacks frighten him ''obviously'' Foer 36 , yet some of his fears seem to be absurd.
Holderegger states in this connection, that trauma patients develop ''diffuse fears'' see Oskar's seemingly unreasonable fears of ''shoes'', ''knots'' or ''germs'' Foer 36 can be seen as entities of his traumatized mind. Again, his only way out of his trauma is distracting himself. At one point of the novel, in a rather melodramatic presentation, Oskar even analyzes himself to a certain extent: It was worst at night.
I started inventing things, and then I couldn't stop, like beavers, which I know about. Scheuren 15 People think they cut down trees so they can build dams, but in reality it's because their teeth never stop growing, and if they didn't constantly file them through by cutting through all of those trees, their teeth would start to grow into their own faces, which would kill them.
That's how my brain was Foer 46 Looking at the quote presented, the protagonist's role as a over thinker becomes obvious again. In this connection Uytterschout and Versluys allude to yet another comparison Oskar draws later in the novel, namely to ''sharks, who die if they don't swim'' Foer in Uytterschout and Versluys par. Both authors eventually summarize the essence of Oskar's comparison, and by that the whole of Oskar's state of mind as well.
Plainly spoken, his inventions and his upcoming ''treasure hunt'' keep him from going insane see par. In this connection, Siegel states that Oskar's fantastic inventions does not only foreground Oskar's unreliability as a narrator, but also points to the role of the imagination in storytelling and to the constructedness of the novel as a fictional text par. Siegel is right to a certain extend.
Oskar needs to be unreliable, because a reliable narrator would not have fit the role of a traumatized child. Yet, Foer's main purpose seems to be rather the use of his character as a narratological tool to display grief and trauma. Oskar's inventions do not, as Siegel states, point to the role of imagination or the novel's constructedness. Extremely does not claim to be a realistic novel, so there is no need to highlight its fictional character.
Furthermore, Oskar's thoughts and streams of consciousness do not refer to the novel's constructedness, but are rather an attempt at a realistic depiction of a traumatized mind. Siegel states that ''[i]t was especially the voice of Oskar [ Yet, the reviewers Siegel alludes to miss one of the most important points of the novel.
Oskar's thoughts are simply proof of the trauma he suffers from, not of a historical or political statement. Nevertheless, Eaglestone ignores this fact and tries to decontextualize Oskar's list of things he is afraid of, by putting it and the whole novel itself, in a postcolonial, global context.
Of course, the protagonist's list presents that Oskar is afraid of ''Arab people'', ''mustaches'' and ''turbans'' Foer 36 , but this cannot be regarded as a political or racist statement. The reality for Oskar is not as global or postcolonial as Eaglestone tries to present it. Foer's ''poetic reality'' Migner is not concerned with cultural or political issues or problems like the Islamic vs.
Proof of this can be found towards the end of the novel, Oskar imagines himself being in the World Trade Center at the moment of the attack. He describes what he would have done in this situation. In this description, two lines are highlighted: I hate you, his eyes would tell me'' Foer Usually, descriptions of Oskar's anger or grief remain somewhat hidden in the main body of the text.
Splitting off the two lines discussed from the rest of the body shows the reader that Oskar in fact is angry, although he is unable to express it verbally. Yet, the passage is evidence for the reader that his hate is not directed towards Islam itself.
Mullins states Oskar uses the term terrorist without attaching ''identity labels'' such as culture or nationality since he can still distinguish between terrorists and ''Arab people'' , which also shows a link to the protagonist's list of things he is afraid of, previously discussed in this paper. The attack on the World Trade Center is therefore presented as an ''act of pure an inexplicable evil'' see Craps Oskar's failure to express his pain -only his eyes are evidence of his hate-, finds its climax in this brief, structurally highlighted, parallelism.
The passage analyzed is evidence that the novel is rather a reflection of what happened to average people, without actually taking into account the global consequences of September 11, or as Keith Gessen simply calls it: Scheuren 17 what are now our parents' clothes'' Therefore, the grief of all characters is generalized and not channelled towards a certain concept of 'the enemy'. However, Oskar does not talk about his trauma a problem which is not exclusive to his character, as the reader of Extremely discovers later , but rather tries to solve his problems on his own.
Uytterschout and Versluys consider his trauma to be actually articulated ambivalently. He is at the same time able and unable to talk about what he is going through, since he is unable to talk with his mother and grandmother, but opens himself to a complete stranger, who turns out to be his grandfather see par. Although Gessen states that ''the words extremely loud and incredibly close describe […] Oskar's narrative style'' 69 , the protagonist remains unable to actually utter his grief.
However, whenever Oskar narrates ''extremely loud'' 69 it seems peculiar that 'real outburst' have only taken place in his head since he ''explain[s] later that he had not really said anything of the kind or anything at all'' Mullins An example of this can be found in a passage of the book, in which Oskar plays the Role of Yorrik in a schoolplay of Hamlet. He imagines himself smashing the head of Jimmy Snyder, a bully who terrorizes him at school, but soon bursts out into a tirade of violence, directed against all the things and people that weigh heavy upon his shoulders: His blood.
Foer The quote presented is the only part of the novel, in which the protagonist opens himself to such an extend. However, it has to be highlighted that Oskar only imagines the situation. Actually uttering words of aggression or hitting people would never come to his mind. Most of the time Oskar rather laconically talks about his feelings or about hurting himself: Even if he knows that it is the wrong thing to suppress his emotions, one of Oskar's reaction to his grief is by turning his psychological pain into something physical.
Oskar's bruises can be seen as a kind of penalty the boy inflicts on himself, an act of self destruction, but on the other hand might be obvious hints to his surroundings that he needs help. Even in his therapy sessions, the boy never overtly states what he really wants or needs. Scheuren 18 Additionally, Oskar never explicitly states why he hurts himself. He might know subconsciously, yet he simply cannot explain it, neither to himself nor to the reader.
However, Uytterschout and Versluys summarize that the physical pain of the bruises echoes Oskar's inner pain of missing his father and constitutes his state of mind as ''a 'mixture' of melancholia and mourning see par. However, Oskar is not Hamlet, the prototypical melancholic. His refusal to wear white clothes exclusively - a striking contrast to Hamlet's black clothes- see Foer 3 can be seen as futher proof of this.
Foer chooses Oskar to play the role of Yorrick, the dead jester, which shows a clear distinction from Hamlet as the exlusively melancholic thinker. Even though Oskar's feels the urge to invent, his intellect serves also the function of protecting him from harm.
His often sarcastic or cynical reactions serve as a shield for him. Whenever Oskar is attacked, he does not play the madman, but hides his psychological problems behind his intellect. One of Oskar's ways to cope with his trauma, besides from inventing, is -again nonverbally- writing in his journal.
The boy jots down his current state of mind, but has to correct himself constantly see Foer , which reflects his unstable emotional state. The crossing out of words is one of the most explicit structural elements of the book which, on the one hand, prominently features a character's deviant way to communicate -or try to communicate-, but on the other hand shows Foer's active interfering with the plot.
In this context, Migner states, that an author's handwriting in a modern novel is most present, if the novel is structured in an idiosyncratic way In this case, Foer's ''handwriting'' reflects Oskar's helplessness. The author makes him constantly correct his state of mind which indicates his restlessness and his inner conflict. Oskar simply does not know how he feels, or better, how he is supposed to feel and how he is supposed to express himself.
It is striking that Oskar corrects himself with the same stylistic elements as his grandfather, an important point which shall be discussed in the section concerned with Thomas Schell in more detail. However, the connection of both characters becomes most obvious in the chapter: For the first time in the novel, the reader encounters the feature of a crossed-out word.
Later in the chapter, the reader is presented with Oskar's notebook, in which he jots down his various moods. In this case: His daybook yet again shows a link to his grandfather. However, Oskar's visual presentation does not show the frantical character Thomas shows in his letters or his notebook.
In contrast to his grandparents Oskar's trauma has not severely affected his communication. Zemanek states this structure is used to create the illusion of holding Oskar's actual notebook in one's own hands4 and sees his words as an ''impatient flux'' The question is whether the striking out of words in this case really reflects impatience or rather inner agitation as a consequence of guilt.
However Oskar is not a direct victim of a traumatic event, and therefore his structural representation of trauma cannot be compared that easily to that of his grandparents, even if certain features of representation overlap. In contrast to Oskar, the origin of his grandparents' disturbed communication can be derived from two totally different entities. According to Uytterschout, they have been traumatized by WW II and are ''retraumatised by the loss of their son in the attacks on the World Trade Center In this context, Uytterschout quotes Langer and Tal by stating that ''[…] primary witness accounts are the only acceptable form of trauma testimony'' See appendix C 5 Note: See also Laub's In: When he eventually finds out, that his mother has known of his journey all along, and has informed all of the Blacks he has visited, the first proof of Oskar's catharsis, or as Uytterschout and Versluys call it: By opening himself to his mother, Oskar breaks free from his melancholic silence and makes himself familiar with the surrounding his trauma had gradually estranged him from.
The last pages of the book, which consist of the boy's phantasy of rewinding the time, so he and his family ''would have been safe'' Foer does not yet again reflect denial. It rather serves as a reflection of Oskar's simple wish that his father's death could be undone. Even if Siegel states, that the flip-book, which serves as an entity to visualize Oskar's wish, has been said to jeopardize the book's chances to be taken seriously see Siegel par. Siegel goes on by mentioning that Foer said he uses images consciously and analyzes a quote by him, in which he states that using pictures in his book for him meant staying true to the experience of the terrorist attacks see Foer in Siegel par.
Foer relates his use of images to the experience of national trauma at the same time highlights the influence of images on the construction of a collective memory when he claims that an event is remembered by images. Siegel par. Nothing less or more. In this context, Simpson states that ''inspirational images'' such as images, gestures, slogans and songs motivate people and gave them opportunities to share the burden of the event with others see Simpson Putting Oskar's flip-book in a historical or political frame thus leads to a general misinterpretation of the author's intention.
In this connection, Lurie quotes the New York Time's caption printed under the very image of the ''Falling Man'' by stating that the picture shows a ''horrific sight that is repeated'' She emphasizes the fact that, due to the picture's character and the victim's anonymity, the image does not refer to the horror of the falling man himself, but rather to the spectator's horror.
Additionally, a striking similarity becomes clear when taking a look at Kauffmann's World Trauma Center. She mentions that Kaplan, a professor of media and cinema studies, has started to ''obsessively photograph[ Extremely tries to convince the reader that its photographs, including the flip-book, are in fact parts of Oskar's notebook, or archive: Stuff that happened to me.
Oskar's archive and the flip-book itself could be seen as examples of ''reenactment, the replaying. This brief analysis cannot be denied, but a more detailled analysis and the reason why both authors come to this conclusion seems crucial at this point. Oskar's grandfather, a survivor of WW II, is an aphasic and survives by writing down in a little notebook he carries with him.
His parts of the book contain the structurally most striking parts of the novel. An analysis of the deviant character of his letters and his notebook is unavoidable to analyze his character.
The first proof of Thomas Schell's trauma is found in the first unsent letter to his son. Reading the first lines of the letter already indicates Thomas' pathologicical condition, namely aphasia. He reveals to his son that he ''[ Thomas presents himself in the passive role of a sufferer here, yet the root of his aphasia is not clear and never becomes clear, throughout the whole novel.
Even if he, rather poetically, mentions that: Is it a result of protest or a clinical condition, caused by traumatic war experience? Scheuren 22 Another letter to his soon gives the reader not only more details about Thomas' story, but also of his trauma. For the first time in the novel, Thomas actually gives a quite detailled report of what happened on the day that was to be the root of his trauma: Sometimes I think if I could tell you what happened to me that night, O could leave that night behind me, maybe I could come home to you, but that night has no beginning or end, it started before I was born and it's still happening.
Foer The quote presented not only shows, yet again, typical features of a trauma victim, namely self-pity and the inner urge to repeat the traumatic event over and over in the mind. It is rather a confession.
Thomas openly addresses his son and tells him that he is not only a victim of war, a refugee, but also a trauma victim. The letter reveals that Thomas once must have been an optimistic young man; in love with his girlfriend, Anna, his actual wife's sister.
As the letter continues, Thomas reveals that Anna has died during the allied bombing of Dresden. The description of a happy man and his the joy over his girlfriend's pregnancy soon gives way to a detailed report of the actual attacks.
The fact that Thomas pictures the scenery in nearly every detail are further proof of the impact the evening had on him. When I had thought I was dying at the base of the Loschwitz Bridge, there was a single thought in my head: Keep thinking.
Thinking would keep me alive. But now I am alive, and thinking is killing me. I think and think and think. I can't stop thinking about that night, the clusters of red flares, the sky, that was like black water, and how only hours before I lost everything, I had everything. Foer The similarity between Thomas Schell and his grandson seems striking when taking a look at the passage presented.
Constant thinking is exactly the same effect of traumatization that can be found in Oskar's character. In comparison Thomas' wording: That's how my brain was. The overall picture shows that both characters suffer from nearly the same haunting pain, namely a trauma that has not been worked through properly yet. His second letter is filled with striking corrections. Red circles slowly but gradually start to take over page for page, until the letter nearly resembles one big correction.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Mti a Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer PDF
While the initial circles highlight 'real' mistakes, such as ''actreses'' see Foer , the pattern soon become irreproducible. The corrections merge closer and closer together, a technique which shall be discussed in the upcoming sections in more detail. However, it seems that Thomas becomes overwhelmed by his emotions.
It seems that the more brutal and detailed the content gets, the more red ink is used. Thomas descriptions of fire, noise and death are lumed by the corrections, they nearly cover the actual content of the letter.
It is unclear what Foer wants to tell the reader with this. Is it a link to the dead son, who used to correct the New York Times see Foer 10? Is it a graphical depiction of blood or fire?
Is it just an eyecatcher? All of these interpretations can be regarded as somewhat right, yet the last one seems the most plausible. Thomas' survivor guilt, and the trauma it caused seems to be the keywords when taking a look at the letter. One can almost imagine him writing the letter and getting more and more emotionally involved. Caruth mentions in this connection ''that survival itself [ Thomas desperately writes until he reaches a point where just every word he writes, and the whole letter itself, in which the risk of ''[ In this context, Migner states, that the modern novel makes itself depends on the characters it introduces.
The required forms and structures are derived from the figures presented In contrast to that, Eaglestone concludes his analysis of Foer's novel by stating that the structural aspects presented in Extremely ''mark the failure of the novel to get to the issues'' He uses a brief interpretation of one of the book's central moments namely the return of Oskar's grandfather. Thomas comes finally back to New York City in , exactly two years after September He plans to see his grandson and his wife, he has left 40 years ago, and wants to begin his ''second life'' Foer with her.
The chapter starts off with two black and white photographs 6 which graphically separate the chapter from the previous one. Eaglestone states that these ''Sebald-esque photographs both illuminate and illustrate the end point of communication'' Eaglestone's analysis misses the point here. The photographs, which show the words ''Yes'' and ''No'' tattooed on Thomas Schell's hands, rather present a shift of communication methods and conventions, not a total loss of them.
Regarding the character's background, expressing himself by use of 'normal' language is simply ''[.. Due to the fact that the photos of Thomas' hands can be regarded as text, since they -literally- contain it, Uytterschout compares the photos with the book's front cover: Filled up with the usual information, such as author and title and colored in a striking, shiny red, the hand on the cover leaves literally no space for anything else7.
Uytterschout contrasts this jammed image to the information on Thomas' hands: However, one has to keep in mind that Uytterschout might overinterpret here, since the cover might be simply composed the way it is to promote and market the novel. The chapter immediately following the photographs consist of a letter Thomas Shell has written to ''my [his] child'' Foer Uytterschout applies LaCapra's theory of ''writing trauma'' on the presentation of Thomas' letter.
He states that ''in literary terms, writing trauma can ''achieve articulation in different combinations and hybridized forms'' These forms start to become clear with the very title of the chapter.
The only thing the reader does find out is that she tried to help her father free himself from a pile of rubble after the attacks p. The reader learns through Thomas, not through Grandma, that her father survived the attacks on Dresden, but that he committed suicide soon after.
In her narrative, Grandma familiarises the reader with the story of her childhood in Dresden before that fatal night in February and with that of her adulthood in New York City. The breach between the two narratives is the omission of her traumatic experience in Dresden. On the whole, though, it seems that Grandma is better at coping with her past than her husband. At a certain point, she suspects that Thomas is on the verge of leaving her and their unborn child.
When she confronts him about his imminent departure, he tells her that he does not know how to live. She admits that she does not know either but that at least she is trying. He in turn retorts that he does not even know how to try Foer , Is that growing old? Or is it something worse? Hence the initial impression that Grandma might have succeeded better than Thomas in making a new life for herself.
In truth, though, she is just as much subject to the tyranny of her traumatic past as is her husband.
If Grandma has gone through a conscious erosion of feelings and repression of memories in the waking world, she is avalanched with them while asleep.
Whereas Grandma is able to dam up memories of her traumatic past while she is awake, that past returns to haunt her in her dreams.
Sometimes she would wake me up in the middle of the night. One of the first things the reader learns about Grandma is that she has bad eyesight. Later on, Thomas realises that his wife cannot see at all when she hands him the blank pages of her life story. This becomes especially apparent after she has lost her son in the attacks of 11 September, when arguably her previous trauma of Dresden and of being abandoned by her husband is awakened and strengthened by this new one.
Oskar Oskar is a very complex character. He is nine and too smart for his age. He combines mature thoughts and ideas with an overall behaviour typical of a child.
Ever since he lost his father in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September, his life has been a daily struggle to emotionally survive.
Throughout the book, he comes across several people who make his boots even heavier, not least his own grandmother. Although Oskar voices an express wish to die, at the same time he is afraid of death. The boy seems to think that drinking coffee will not only prevent him from growing in length but also from growing older and by extension from dying.
One day, the borough started drifting away and nothing could be done to hold it back. The entire borough simply floated away and finally ended up in Antarctica where its life became static and fixated. Children were allowed to lie down on the park as it was being moved. The children of New York lay on their backs, body to body, filling every inch of the park … and the children were pulled, one millimetre and one second at a time, into Manhattan and adulthood.
Oskar and Peter prefer the status quo of their childhood albeit for entirely different reasons. Peter does not wish to grow up because to him, adulthood means to stop having fun. Oskar wants to stunt his growth because he is afraid of getting old and dying. The life of stasis in the Sixth Borough as it has become part of Antarctica resembles the Neverland, the island where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys live.
The children of New York, however, asleep in Central Park as it is being pulled into Manhattan, grow up overnight. The story of Central Park, in other words, can be seen as a metaphor for the inescapability of adulthood. She asked what was wrong. Obviously, Oskar was not always an unhappy child. According to Kacandes , , there are a number of outlets for this sadness, all of which can be detected in the character of Oskar Schell.
The boy faces the psychological need to do detective work to unravel what happened to him and to attribute meaning to it. The sadness about his disrupted worldview goes hand in hand with bouts of hypervigilance and overactivity. On his wanderings through New York City, Oskar is obsessively on the lookout to avert lurking dangers.
He goes out of his way to avoid being in places the Empire State Building and skyscrapers in general or using certain facilities public transportation and elevators that to his mind are obvious targets for future terrorist attacks or are prone to causing accidents, like the one involving the Staten Island Ferry.
The child is both overactive in thought and in actions. His daytime hustle and bustle is meant to soothe a brain in overdrive.
From the moment Oskar is alone for a while and has nothing to divert him, he starts dreaming up the weirdest inventions. His imagination is especially vivid at night, when he cannot sleep. Not only does he invent the most helpful things to escape from sticky situations or to make people feel better, but neither can he refrain from imagining the most horrible deaths for the people he loves.
When he does finally manage to fall asleep, he is plagued by nightmares. Oskar is at the same time able and unable to share what he is going through. That is to say, he is unable unwilling?
His suppressed feelings and experiences well up in the form of sudden outbursts of anger towards people in general, but mostly towards those who are closest to him, like his mother and grandmother. In one of these paroxysms, Oskar tells his mother that if he had had a choice, he would have chosen her to die instead of his father Foer , Another vicious outburst is directed at Grandma for having torn off and thrown away the plate block of a sheet of valuable stamps p.
Apart from having real fits of anger, Oskar also envisions a number of situations in which he reacts aggressively and even violently. One of those imagined scenes takes place between Oskar and a bully from his class, Jimmy Snyder, during the school performance of Hamlet pp. Deeply frustrated, Oskar also turns his violence and aggression towards himself, in that he bruises himself whenever he wears particularly heavy boots or is disappointed.
Since the death of his father, Oskar has weekly appointments with Dr Fein. Just as Thomas constantly attempts to recreate Anna, 6 so Oskar desperately clings to the memory of his father and does his best to remember every tiny detail about him. Finding the matching lock to his key is of secondary importance to Oskar. What the boy wants above all is to piece together an image of his father.
In the end, he is not disappointed. I was worried. I found it and now I can stop looking? I found it and it had nothing to do with Dad? Thus, they are themselves and become the ones that are missing at the same time. Throughout the book, Oskar is repeatedly being told by his mother and grandmother that he resembles his father and grandfather.
As a memorial candle, the child in question involuntarily shoulders a heavy emotional burden.
At the same time, though, memorial candles are also seen as a source of light and hope Dasburg , x. Using language suggests at least some form of coming to terms or comprehension, and that is what Thomas wants to avoid at all cost.
Acting out involves the inability to bear witness to what has happened. That inability ensnares the trauma victim in an existence in which he is unable to invest love and attachment in new relationships Harris , This certainly holds true for Thomas Schell.
He does not appreciate her for her own person, but only as the last remaining link to Anna. Even when he asks his wife to stand model for his sculptures, he does not sculpt her.
Extremely Loud .pdf - Throughout the book of Extremely Loud...
His sculptures are a ceaseless attempt to reconstruct his image of Anna. In fact, he does the exact opposite. He is fundamentally unable to relinquish the memory of his beloved Anna. He realises that if only he could let go, his life would be much simpler. But despite his insight into his own state of mind, Thomas cannot help himself. Foer , 17 Remembering the past is a compulsion for Thomas.
In his reasoning, the fact that he lost the possibility of spending his life with Anna can only be compensated by never forgetting about it. Sadly enough, Thomas is not holding on to real memories. Instead, he cherishes projections of what a life with Anna could have been like. On several occasions, Thomas expresses the wish not to think about what could have been ever again.
But he cannot help himself. Amidst the chaos of the burning city, Thomas remembers that one single thought kept him on his feet: Keep thinking. Reconsidering this in retrospect, Thomas concludes that at that time to keep thinking might very well have saved his life. Now that he is alive, however, thinking is killing him pp. His refusal or inability to speak prevents him from sharing his experiences with others. Thus, he forecloses every prospect of coming to terms with the traumatic events of his past.
From the moment Thomas is in America, the involuntary reliving of the past translates itself in aphasia. Speech, for him, is an inadequate means of expression and must therefore be omitted. Grandmother At first sight, Mrs Schell seems to do much better as a survivor of the Dresden air raids than her husband. Greer , n. She does not lose her speech, she is not trapped in endless reliving of the past or so it seems and she is able to make a new life for herself and her son after Thomas abandons them.
Contrary to her husband, Mrs Schell has a drive to communicate in general and to tell the story of her life in particular. Although Thomas will not budge from his choice to remain silent about his traumatic past, he does encourage his wife to do exactly the opposite. He believes that writing will be therapeutic, a way to lighten her burden.
Paradoxically enough, he sets up her desk and typewriter in the Nothing guest room. As the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that Mrs Schell is only keeping up appearances and that, in fact, she is not coping well at all.
After her first encounter with Thomas in New York, for instance, she is clearly suicidal Foer , Indeed, as it turns out, Mrs Schell does not really write at all.
She only pretends that she does by constantly hitting the space bar. Mrs Schell clearly reflects the same struggle displayed by Thomas, namely that of wavering between a crisis of life and a crisis of death. Taking her leave from Thomas after their first meeting, she plans to drown herself in the Hudson River.
His motioning her to come back might be her lifeline but it takes a moment before she accepts. She is torn between the prospect of death and the possibility of starting a new life with Thomas. Although she is in the habit of picking up pretty rocks for her grandson to add to his collection, he senses that there is something unusual about this one. He remarks that his grandmother should not be carrying heavy things and that this rock looks like it must weigh a ton.
Like her husband, Grandma is burdened with survivor guilt. As a girl, she collected letters. Aside from feeling guilty about having fuelled the fires that destroyed her house, Grandma also struggles with deep feelings of unworthiness. These instances are so recurrent, that Oskar cannot help but notice them. I brought myself to the ground, which was where I belonged.
I hit the floor with my fists. I wanted to break my hands, but when it hurt too much, I stopped. I was too selfish to break my hands for my only child. I wanted to lie down in my own waste, which was what I deserved. I wanted to be a pig in my own filth. She wants to share her experiences with others. She wants to tell her specific story as a survivor of the Dresden firebombing. That urge to get her story out is expressed by her feverishly writing the letter to her grandson justifying her actions at the end of the novel.
By contrast, it is rather peculiar that the reader never gets her own account of the Dresden bombardments. One does not find out where she was and what she was doing when the first bombs struck the city, or what she did to survive. The only thing the reader does find out is that she tried to help her father free himself from a pile of rubble after the attacks p. The reader learns through Thomas, not through Grandma, that her father survived the attacks on Dresden, but that he committed suicide soon after.
In her narrative, Grandma familiarises the reader with the story of her childhood in Dresden before that fatal night in February and with that of her adulthood in New York City. The breach between the two narratives is the omission of her traumatic experience in Dresden.
On the whole, though, it seems that Grandma is better at coping with her past than her husband. At a certain point, she suspects that Thomas is on the verge of leaving her and their unborn child. When she confronts him about his imminent departure, he tells her that he does not know how to live.
She admits that she does not know either but that at least she is trying. He in turn retorts that he does not even know how to try Foer , Is that growing old? Or is it something worse? Hence the initial impression that Grandma might have succeeded better than Thomas in making a new life for herself. In truth, though, she is just as much subject to the tyranny of her traumatic past as is her husband.I thought about calling Mom.
Although he never said it, I could tell that my uncle had befriended the inmate. I put it under my mattress. At the end of this chapter Thomas admits to himself that the marriage between him and Grandmother Schell could have been a turning point in his life.
We 37 talked for half an hour about what he wanted to make. Grandmother Schell's production of emptiness eventually leads to the ultimate form of deconstruction, namely blank pages. Working through, on the other hand, is what LaCapra terms an articulatory practice, necessarily invoking an effort at testimony p.
I looked at the unfinished sculpture of my sister, and the unfinished girl looked back at me.
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