Tragedy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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There are three main characters that the reader gets to see deal with grief in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The first of which is the main narrator, nine year-old Oskar Schell. Oskar is in the denial stage of grief because he is keeping his father alive by going on one last grand adventure to find the story behind the key, thus keeping him alive. But of course, there is no reason for Oskar to have the key. Oskar tells Mr. Black, “There are so many ways to die, and I just need to know which one was his” (Foer, 257). Notice how his isn’t focusing on his father’s death here, he is focusing on the logic behind his father’s death. Right now, in his mind, it isn’t logical and therefore cannot be dealt with. Furthermore, it…show more content…
didn’t recreate his identity. Rather, he let the trauma eat away at him until he became an empty shell of regret and depression. Lastly, then Foer presents a character at the final stage of grief: acceptance. Although Oskar’s grandmother has moments in the novel that are clearly caused by trauma’s echo, she has moved past her traumatic past as best as anyone could realistically expect a person to move past them. Furthermore, the grandmother tries to help other characters reach a similar state of acceptance by carefully balancing encouragement for change and respecting boundaries. Her clearest moments of encouragement are when she’s talking one-on-one with Oskar, and therefore almost directly to the reader. First, she tells him “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness” (Foer, 180). If a person was reading this book to find advice for how to live life after a traumatic experience, this would be a home run. Contrary to a lot of books, she’s not telling Oskar to just forget about what happened. She’s not ordering him to move on with his life and expecting him to be completely unaffected by the tragedy, because she knows that isn’t possible and she knows what happens if someone doesn’t face his issues. The grandmother also knows what would happen if Oskar were to completely shut himself off from happiness and avoid anything that made him sad, because that is what his grandfather did. So instead, she advices
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