Eng 110, March 15, 2012
Desperate to survival
How can a big brother who loses his parents in a short period of time survive? How is it possible for him to take care of his little brother at the same time? In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the author Dave Eggers describes a long dialogue between him and his brother Toph. In fact, the dialogue is not happening in the real world; instead, it is a “me and I” dialogue. Dave talks about his long day in the beginning of this dialogue, while “Toph” extends the conversation to the discussion of Dave’s inner being. Actually Dave is analyzing his behavior with respect to Toph. From the dialogue, we can tell Dave is desperate and is eager to have a normal life with Toph. Dave’s dialogue with “Toph’ shows Dave is aggressive. Dave is trying to escape the past and use moral authority to condemn other for the purpose of building himself up. Dave is trying to run away from the past guilt. The guilty feelings make Dave stay away from the past. “Toph” says, “You’re completely paralyzed with guilt about relating all this in the first place, especially the stuff earlier on.”(115). The past was horrible for Dave. He suffered a lot, he lost his parents, and more importantly, his family. He is afraid to remember his family, because he is afraid that those painful memories will haunt after him. The guilt, as “Toph” describes, constrains him. Dave feels guilty for his parents’ death. The “family” area in his brain is a forbidden zone. He preserves this area carefully in order to avoid the potential harm coming from the heartrending stories. Otherwise, these areas may drive him ballistic. As a result, Dave tries many ways to escape the guilt. At the very beginning of the conversation, Dave and “Toph” are talking about their long day. Dave argues that “this is a much pedestrian day than most”, because “this is just a caricature… the skeleton…”(115) Toph says: “you’re….doing little tricks, out of...
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