Wearing Heavy Boots -Trauma in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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GRIN Verlag, 2013 - 76 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2011 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Potsdam (Anglistik/Amerikanistik), course: Extremely Irritated and Incredibly Diverse- US-Amerikanische Mainstreamliteratur nach 2000, language: English, abstract: I didn't understand why I needed help, because it seemed to me that you should wear heavy boots when your dad dies, and if you aren't wearing heavy boots, then you need help. (Foer 200, emphasis original) On an early Tuesday morning in September 2001 two as human bombs converted airplanes hit the World Trade Center, killed about 2870 people and left nearly 10.000 children with only one or even no parent at all (Anzieu-Premmereur 281). This drastic disaster ended America as it was known before 9/11 and overwhelmed its inhabitants with tragedy, terror and fear, leaving behind an overpowering numbness that will express itself through flags flying at half-mast, millions of shattered individuals, repetitive pictures of horror in the media and attempts to handle the unbearable through literature. In Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (for shortening reasons from now on referred to as EL&IC) the nine-year-old protagonist Oskar Schell suffers from the loss of his dear father Thomas Schell Jr. who died on 11 September in the restaurant Windows of the World located in the north tower of the World Trade Center. This paper will show how Foer's three main characters in EL&IC are portrayed as survivors of trauma, what experiences and guilt they suffer from and how they deal with these on the level of language, action and image. Referring to trauma theory this text will prove that each of the three characters has a different way of coping with the traumatic experiences they faced (in the case of the grandparents even two experiences are taken into consideration) and to what extend a resolution of trauma is achieved by them. The unconventional style of narration and design of EL&IC, its inclusion of blankne
 

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