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A Story To Tell Essay

1319 words - 6 pages

Tragedy is a part of life regardless of who the individual is. How people cope with these tragedies varies from person to person. One thing we all have in common is the commonly used phrase “Never Forget.” Tragedy tends to define people and the memory of those people and their stories live on. The way people never forget these tragedies is through communication and telling their stories. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, explores the many ways that different people live with tragedy in their own lives and the way they tell their stories to other people. The book follows three main characters: Oskar Schell who is a funny nine year old boy who lost his father in ...view middle of the document...

The grandmother even says in her own letters to Oskar, “After only a few sessions it became clear that he was sculpting Anna. He was trying to remake the girl he knew seven years before.” (83) Thomas Schell Sr. only used the Grandmother to keep the memory of Anna alive. Seeing Anna in her helped him cope with her death. He ended up losing everything in his effort to keep the woman he lost alive because he cannot move past and forget. Fifteen years after his first letter, the only letter Thomas Schell Jr. ever received is seen. It goes over, in detail for the first time, the bombing where Anna was killed and how it affects Thomas Schell Sr.’s relationship with the grandmother. Finally it is confirmed why he was never able to love his wife and his son. “‘I’m so afraid of losing something I love that I refuse to love anything,’” (216). Because he lost Anna and his child, he cannot find it in himself to love anyone else. But when the grandmother got pregnant she disrespected when “He took his pen and wrote on the next to last page, No children.” (85) He did love his child which you can see when he signed his letter “I love you, Your father” (216). Being forced to love when it was his biggest fear is what caused him to flee. The grandfather is an example of someone who is entire caught up in the past. Not every character is like him
While Thomas Schell Sr. cannot stop living in his past, Oskar’s Grandmother cannot get farther from hers. She refuses to let it define her but still she cannot forget it. This is why her portion of the story is written through her letters to Oskar explaining her story to him so that he might understand more about where he came from. She had to be pregnant, regardless of it killing her marriage, so she could have something to fill the spaces of people lost in her past because she buried it all. “[She] never forgot about the ghost. [She] needed a child.” (177) Her ghost is her past and her child was supposed to fill the spaces. When her child died on 9/11, Oskar filled that space. She does not like to accept her past so she tries to cover it up and forget it. She believes her past has no relevance to her. In one of her letters she said “I have no need for the past, I thought, like a child. I did not consider that the past might have a need for me.” (78) Her husband can even be seen saying to his son “You mother suffered, too, but she chose to live, and lived…” (135), showing how no matter how tragic her past she refused to let it define her. Even with her story...

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