Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close Commentary

1180 words - 5 pages

Shekar 1Suraj ShekarMrs. BosticIB1 Literature 4B14 December 2013Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close CommentaryLoss is not something anyone can feel the gravity and fully understand unless they have gone through it themselves. It is something that re-shapes life and, if one has the ability to come out the other end sane, provides one with a new outlook and mindset. Such transitions and the journeys through loss are well exemplified by Jonathan Safran Foer in his novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He takes the reader on the character's journeys of loss and allows the audience to develop an emotional understanding of the consequences of loss. By limiting the novel to the scope of a narrative, Foer is effectively able to develop the characters' mindsets and therefor allows his audience to understand how bearing a loss causes one to act-out in an attempt to gain closure.Foer displays the effects of loss on three major characters in the novel: Oskar, Thomas Schell Sr., and Grandma. Oskar, being the protagonist of the novel, is the character the audience is first exposed to. Foer is able to shape the story by putting it in perspective of Oskar, also providing the reader with the opportunity to understand his thoughts. Oskar's loss in the story is his father, and it is one that takes a major toll on his personality. Foer's language when taking the audience on the journey of Oskar's search for closure exemplifies this change in personality. Oskar begins by making jokes at his father's funeral, a time that is very sensitive to everyone who knew him. He asks the limo driver, "have you already had un oeuf?" (6). Oskar is joking at this time, and seems to be finding something to distract him from the death of his father. He is turning to humor, in this case, and is essentially doing so in his own way of bearing the sadness. In another case, Oskar turns to blame in an effort to cope with the loss. He loved his father greatly and feels that it is necessary for everyone to be sad in order for his father to be remembered. He sees happiness in a mother and exclaims, "If I could have chosen, I would have chosen you!" (171). This shift in the normal language of Oskar shows that he is acting out, and with it being in context of remembering his father, he does it in order to cope with the pain. These instances are only understandable by the reader because of Foer's expert tactic in presenting parts of the story through Oskar's eyes.As the story takes lift, the Foer further develops his theme through his style of switching the perspective from Oskar to Thomas Schell Sr., called Grandpa. Grandpa, much like Oskar, deals with the loss of a loved one. He lost his child and lover in a firebombing of his hometown. He explains this even in a unique format, explaining how, "I killed it, I killed a zebra…I blamed myself for everything" (213). These parallel sentences, displayed through the eyes of Grandpa to the reader, allow the reader to feel Grandpa's...

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