summary on an essay of Rodriquez on Everything is Illuminated

Topics: Jonathan Safran Foer, Narrative, World War II Pages: 2 (347 words) Published: December 19, 2013
Homework Kracht van Literatuur 15-11-2013

Summary of an essay by Francisco Collado-Rodriguez: Ethics in the Second Degree: Trauma and Dual Narratives in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated

The novel has two different distinguishable voices. There are two storylines; one about the history of Trachimbrod and one about the quest for Augustine, that alternate between each other. According to Collado-Rodriguez, Foer demonstrates these different narrations to “evaluate the power of fiction as an ethical instrument”. (1)

Foer uses a different literary strategy for both narrations: realism and modernism. The result of this is an ethical reading. Through these two clashing strategies, the readers are made aware of the horrific events that have occurred in the Second World War; both to the Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians. (2)

Both narrators coincide in their quest for identity and roots. The narrator Jonathan writes about his grandfather’s village and the impact of the Second World War, while Alex writes about their journey together. In the end, the quest turns out to be more successful for Alex than for Jonathan. According to Rodriguez, through his experience, Alex attains an understanding about his family and their history to the extent that it changes his own future. (3)

Another difference between the two narrations is the different notion of time: Jonathan describes the Trachimbrod’s history in a mythological and cyclical manner, whereas Alex describes the quest in a classical and realistic manner. Moreover, Alex final decisions, in which he chooses his own future, greatly contrast with Jonathan’s chapters that describe a determined cyclical fate. (4)

Illumination – should be in the summary

In the last chapter written by Alex, his usual realistic register coincides with a more magical and modern way of writing. According to Collado-Rodriguez, This strategy is used to convey the Grandfather’s trauma to the readers. In placing...
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