Coping with Loss
Jonathan Foer's novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, deals with many themes, the most significant being how one deals with loss. In the novel, Oskar Schell found a key in his late father's closet and makes it his mission to find the missing lock. Along the way he is faced with many challenges in coping with the tragic loss of his father. Oskar's personality and the way he deals with situations is greatly affected by his father's death, his relationship with his mother is strained because he doesn't comprehend how she is coping with the loss, and he is constantly faced with losing the memory of his father. Foer shows us how deeply such a tragedy effects someone, not only as an individual, but how their loss effects the people around them.
Although Oskar has a reptuation of being a mature, old souled, and extremely reasonable nine year old, his father's death changes the way he perceives things, and how he handles himself in certain aspects of his life. There are many scenes throughout the novel where Oskar turns to harming himself to deal with his overwhelming emotions. For example, when his mother and her boyfriend were in the living room giggling and listening to music, and Oskar was in his dad's closet, he writes, "I zipped myself all the way into the sleeping bag of myself, not because I was hurt, and not because I had broken something, but because they were cracking up. Even though I knew I shouldn't, I gave myself another bruise" (Foer 37). In these lines Foer reveals the true pain Oskar is hiding. Oskar recedes into himself, and causes himself physical pain in order to avoid the real reasons he is hurt. Another example of Oskar losing himself is when his mother was tucking him into bed, and he was begging her not to fall in love with anyone or he would stop loving her. Oskar was being very childlike, Linda got frustrated and said, "You remind me so much of Dad" (171). Oskar, with venom in his voice, replied, "If I could...
Cited: Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Boston, MA: Mariner, 2005. Print.
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