Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Essay

There is no doubt that the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safranfoer focuses more on the story with Oskar, however it also includes a compelling side story of the life of the Grandfather. From reading the different events that occur throughout his years, the readers can sense a feeling of wrongdoing and reconciliation. The underlying story about the grandfather explains his reasoning behind his wrongdoing, what he did to commit to it, and his actions afterwards to reconcile on behalf of it. The early events of the grandfather’s life were complicated for him, and resulted in his mind being corrupt. Through the quote, “Does it break my heart, of course, every moment of every day, into more pieces than my heart was made of, I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent” (Safranfoer 17), the seclusion between him and the world is starting to become noticeable. After suffering the loss of his first love, as well as his child, left him with an unbearable sadness so early in his life. This causes his views on living to be altered; as he thought of it as something that is a shame to partake in. His inability to even talk anymore; starting with the name “Anna” and slowly reducing to nothing, verifies that her death triggered his isolation. With that, he was left empty and reluctant to allow anyone to fill that void. Years after the Anna’s death, the grandfather started his relationship with the grandmother. Still isolating himself, he explained at the end of the book, his reasoning for leaving the grandmother prior through a conversation with Oskar, “‘How did he die’ ‘I lost him before he died’ ‘How? ‘I went away’ ‘Why? ’ He wrote, ‘I was afraid’ ‘Afraid of what? ’ ‘Afraid of losing him’” (Safranfoer 322). This is a strong quote explaining how the grandfather was too scared to love someone again. The rules that he and the grandmother placed with the something and nothing areas gave him his own type of comfort in continuing to live without Anna. When he learned of the grandmother’s pregnancy, he lost any remaining security that he has accumulated throughout the course of their relationship. His views on life and love were already corrupt as he was still broken from before, so with this, he remained confused on what to do. Unable to allow himself to open up and love another one of his children again, he left before he got the chance to. Contrarily, after leaving, the grandfather wrote multiple letters to the son that he never knew, which showed how ashamed he was of himself. However, due to his perspective on living, he feels that he was left with no other choice. This was an important moment when the grandfather was able to open up to the grandmother, which allowed the readers to the-essays.com review gain an understanding of his true thoughts and feelings towards the events of his life. He lost something he never had. That is why he generated this chaos throughout his life. It hurt him, and although he does not specifically say that he wishes it did not happen, the tone expressed shows that he would have been better off without this suffering. To elaborate on that thought, one must put themselves in the grandfathers’ shoes. The person who he was in love with, who was also carrying his child, was killed in a war that was not even ideal to be a part of. Northrop Frye, author of ‘The Educated Imagination’ states, “What produces the tolerance is the power of detachment in the imagination, where things are removed just out of reach of belief and action “(Frye 46). For the readers, this seems like a common tragedy during the war, but to really hink deeply about the emotions of the people who lived through that misfortune portrays the grandfather in a different way. He had every right to feel the way he was feeling; war put many people in misery, for many different reasons, that revolved around the same topic, loss of a loved one. To live through that, and be expected to continue on with life conventionally is obscured. Frye explains that readers develop a tolerance when reading, but what must now be done is to learn to understand within the reach of belief and action. By being able to adapt to this deeper understanding, it is easier to understand the feelings going through the grandfather. Another way the reconciliation with the grandfather is seen is when Oskar confides in the grandfather; but to Oskar, is just the renter. After hearing the message recordings on the phone, the grandfather writes, in a letter to his son, “The message was cut off, you sounded so calm, you did not sound like someone who was about to die, I wish we could have sat across a table and talked about nothing for hours” (Safranfoer 281). Thinking from the grandfather’s perspective; he is listening to the voice of his son that he never met for the first time, right before the son is about to die. One could only imagine how traumatizing it would be to hear that. This encounter between Oskar and the grandfather was more of a rude awakening to the grandfather. He left his son before he could even meet him, and now, all he has left of him is the sound of his voice, minutes before he dies. The amount of regret within the grandfather is enormous; he is ashamed. By joining Oskar in digging up the casket, he puts the letters into it. This symbolizes his way of finally sending his son the letters. It is a way to put him at peace and finally reach out to his son. These events will always be a memory, but maybe now he can find a way to accept it and try ‘living’ in a new acceptable way. For the grandfather to experiences all these occasions, yet still confess to his mistakes, makes the underlying story about him an inspirational portion to the book. Having such a distressing event early in his life causes him to make mistakes and hurt the people who are significant to him, but in the end, he makes up for it; reconciles. In the world today, it is rare that someone who takes responsibility for their actions, and admits that they were wrong. The grandfather goes through such traumas in his life, and proves to be a strong, good-hearted man.


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