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“Beating Around the Bush”: Exploring the Child Narrator in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Set in the aftermath of 9/11, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is told by several narrators and through different narratives. The main narrator is nine-year-old Oskar, who displays qualities that that can be perceived as peculiar and odd. This essay investigates the full range of effects that these qualities present and connect them to Oskar’s narrative. After initially framing and defining the narrative structures that Foer uses, I explore Oskar’s different characteristics and show their effect on both the narrator and the narrative. Oskar’s narrative is scrutinized by looking at his honesty, dreams, narrative tempo and angst. They suggest that Foer uses techniques, such as slowing the narrative down or building up a relation to the reader, in order to tell Oskar’s subjective story. I examine the personal qualities that Oskar has, in order to show that he displays certain symptoms connected with Asperger’s syndrome and how Asperger’s manifests itself in the novel. By including the notion of trauma, I differentiate the possible Asperger’s syndrome from behavior connected to trauma.  Additionally, I show how Foer both expresses and avoids political issues and focuses on subjective grief in a collective political context. I also compare Oskar to other child narrators and show similarities. The combination of these explorations demonstrates the depths in the main character and the many interpretations that can be made when a nine-year-old narrator is examined carefully.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 21 p.
Keyword [en]
Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, child narrator, narrative
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104723OAI: diva2:725537
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-06-16 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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