Rhetorical image yet he cannot stop thinking about it

Rhetorical Analysis EssayIn Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Foer tells the embracing story of an eleven year old boy Oskar who lost his father on the 9/11 terrorist attack. The book follows Oskar’s adventure and how he comes to terms with his father’s death. Foer defines “looking within” through the central theme of trauma and how it is processed. Trauma plays a crucial part in progressing the story as we see how these characters are able to reevaluate their views. Foer emphasizes that trauma can bring one closer to the ones important to them and is able to address this through the use of symbolism and irony.In the story, different symbols throughout the book emphasizes the complexity and challenges of life and how to cope with personal tragedies individuals face. The best example of symbolism is the image of the man falling from the World Trade Center. It is the most troubling image that Oskar saw among the countless gruesome images of the 9/11 attacks. The falling man is the ultimate image of hopelessness. When we see this image, we know for certain that the man will die. It brings this massive tragedy down to a horribly intimate personal scale. It captures the desperation of people who were forced to make a choice between two evils: being killed by flames or taking their own life. Although very few people know the name of that individual, this picture is burned in the memories of every person that saw it. Oskar’s is terrified of the image yet he cannot stop thinking about it because he thinks it could be his father. At the same time, thinking about  it gives him a strange comfort, because he believes that falling to your death is less painful than burning to death. Oskar’s need to look within for a way to cope with this disturbing image. Oskar makes a flipbook of the falling man and reverses the order of the images in a way that makes the man rise up. Once Oskar looks within and reflects, he is able to  replace terror with comfort and replace trauma with hope.Foer’s uses irony throughout the book to emphasizes the transition the characters undergo by the process of “looking within”.  One of the main ironies in the book is the title itself, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” The grief experienced by Oskar and other characters is opposite to being “extremely loud”. Throughout the novel, characters cannot express in words what they feel and their thoughts are limited their silent mind. Oskar and the other characters, such as his Grandma and Grandpa, often stay silent or refuse to be open about their grief, furthering the irony of the word choice ‘extremely loudly.’ Oskar’s struggle and challenges throughout the book is loud and close to him, always in his face, yet the one individual that can help him, his grandfather, does not speak, so he’s quite the opposite of loud. Another example of irony in this book is that the death of Oskar’s father separates him from his family, while simultaneously bringing the rest of his family closer together. The lost of their son brings Oskar’s grandparents back together and by the end of the book Oskar begins to accept the past and ultimately become closer to his mother. Foer’s use of symbolism and irony allows the reader to understand the complexities of tragedies and how we must overcome those tragedies to become closer to the ones around us. Foer’s symbolism of the falling man allows Oskar to cope with personal tragedies he faces. The irony of the title compares and contrasts the change the characters go through during the novel. These emphasize the fact that trauma, once overcome, allows individuals to see the world anew.