Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer Essay

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Weird. If the relationship between the characters of Grandpa and Grandma could be described in one word, it would be weird. Then again, Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a shining example of everything unconventional, exploring the nuances of grief through multiple and varying perspectives, each with a unique approach that attempts to achieve recovery and solace. The relationship of Grandpa and Grandma is an example of one such attempt at recovery, one that tries desperately to reconcile past traumas, yet ultimately acts as a futile effort that harbors more grief and denial.
In order to delve into the relationship between Grandpa and Grandma, an understanding of their pasts is necessary. Both Grandpa and
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Or anyone” (309). This fear of being alone explains Grandma’s oddly obsessive behavior with those close to her, which also acts as a mechanism to fill the void left by the death of her father and Anna. Anna’s presence in the background of the relationship is clear and holds a particular significance between Grandpa and Grandma. The fact that they are both extremely close to her only amplifies the tension between them and creates another roadblock in their relationship. For Grandpa, Anna’s loss is the loss of the life he wanted. The denial of this loss is displayed in his intimate interaction with Grandma. As he sculpts, he constantly tries to reposition Grandma in an attempt to re-create Anna. This yields important insight into Grandpa’s psyche. His life is a constant search for Anna, a direct effect of his failure to actually do so successfully in Dresden. Grandma, however, is more influenced by Anna in life, rather than death. Her observation of Anna’s escapades with Grandpa left an impression on her. Through Anna, she developed an expectation and image of what love should be. Her search for this love, the love Anna once had with Grandpa, compels her to marry Grandpa when they cross paths in New York. In their relationship, it is apparent that Grandma tries to ignite a real romantic relationship, desperately trying to fulfill his needs. Of course this does not
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