Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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S. Todd Atchison, a post-colonial writer from the University of North Carolina, discusses in his article, “Why I am writing from where you are not”: Absence and presence in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the distortion of language and how people acquire an inability to comprehend and communicate after experiencing traumatic events. Likewise, Sascha Scheuren, a student of English Studies at the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonns, used his thesis, Trauma in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, to comment on the emotional involvement and shift in communication that occurs when we are confronted with the chaos of trauma. As Safran Foer’s novel encounters the events of September 11th, we are enabled to focus on the survivors of these types of traumas and how they are affected. Specifically, Thomas Schell is a character used to represent the chaos of trauma survivors as they attempt to cope with the past in their present and live a life that has been changed.

Thomas wasn’t prepared for what would happen in his life. He was a young man growing up in Dresden Germany, and his only concern was his girlfriend and their unborn son. However, disaster struck when Thomas became the victim of the allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. He lost both of his loved ones that day, along with a great part of himself.

The form of the novel, a scrapbook of documents saved by Thomas’s grandson, Oskar Schell, introduces Grandfather Thomas Schell through a letter he wrote to his unborn son. It indicates distinctive features of a trauma victim, specifically self-pity and the inner urge to repeat the traumatic event over and over in his mind. It almost acts as a confession from Th...

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...tactile ruptures of his memory. Oskar gave Thomas a purpose to being alive, and though he can never fully recover from the past recollection of his traumas, he can keep living, keep thinking, and continue to survive.

Works Cited

Atchison, S. Todd1, ““Why I Am Writing From Where You Are Not”: Absence And Presence In Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 46.3/4 (2010): 359-368. Humanities Source. Web. 5 Apr. 2014.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Boston, MA: Mariner, 2005. Print.

Scheuren, Sashca. “Trauma in Jonathon Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredible Close.” Thesis. Philosophische Fakultätder Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, 2010. Trauma in Jonathan Safran Foers Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Academia, June 2010. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
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