In the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly close the Author chooses to include random images throughout the text. They all relate to the story but it is a mystery as to why the author included each specific picture. One set of images that relates heavily too each other are the images of the man falling from the tower. These images appear throughout the book and actually sum up the last 15 pages of the novel. Although it is apparent that this is a man falling from one of the twin towers I feel there is a hidden meaning to these pictures.
In the first of these pictures the man falling appears towards the top of the tower and as you see more and more of the pictures the man is closer and closer to the ground until at the end of the novel we see the man hit the ground. Obviously when the man hits the ground he dies. However when he is in the air although he is going to die and in a way he has already died he is still alive. In my mind this symbolizes how Oskar is slowly accepting his dads death more and more as the novel goes on. Although Oskar knows his dad is dead he can’t accept that his dad is gone for good. So in a way Oskar’s dad is this figure falling through the air. At the end of the novel the figure hits the ground. This is when Oskar finally realizes that his dad is dead. Then once Oskar understands this the body floats back up because all Oskar wants at this point is for everything to be undone.
One thing that interests me about this novel is how smart Oskar is. Throughout the novel he engages in intelligent conversations with people about things that most adults would barely understand. He is nine and is talking about things like how the universe was formed and how the forces on a roller coaster work. Things that most of us Georgia Tech students are just now understanding and I thought we were smart. This extreme intelligence is associated with some form of Autism. I am no expert on the subject but the generalization of what he has is that he is extremely intelligent but it is hard for him to be social. This got me thinking about what the actual condition is. Most people think of Autistic kids as if they have disabilities but in my opinion they are actually so far developed that they are more advanced than the rest of society. In a sense we are the disabled ones when compared to them. This is why it is hard for them to socialize with the rest of society. For one to socialize they have to be able to relate to the people they are communicating with. Oskar is so much more intelligent than the rest of us that he can’t relate to us and as a result we think of these autistic people as socially disabled. However they are not disabled they are just different from the rest of us. Its like the comparison of us trying to have a conversation with a mentally handicapped person. We might be able to talk to them but there wouldn’t be a social connection. Its the same way with autistic people they are just on the opposite side of the spectrum.
The Rainy River excerpt from Tim O’Brien’s story is a good one. Throughout the story I felt connected to Tim because he is in pretty much the exact same position I would be in if there was a draft. Not only that but I would probably feel split the same way that he did. This is for many of the same reasons he felt split. You don’t want to go because you don’t agree with the cause, you don’t want to kill people, and of course you don’t want to be killed. However you want to go because you feel that if you don’t go people will view you as a coward. Then the last line of the text came along. “I was a coward. I went to war.”. This gave me chill bumps because when you think about its true. Society views not fighting others and running away from danger as cowardice. However that is the exact reason why not fighting and running away from danger is the brave thing to do. It takes more courage to go against what society wants you to do and do what you feel is right than it does to fight in a war. Anyone can pull a trigger or get hit by a bullet, but not everyone can do what they feel is right. Now I am not taking away from those who choose to fight in the armed forces. However they are brave because they feel that to fight is the right thing to do. Tim O’Brien states that he is a coward because he was against this war and thought that there was no reason for him to fight in it. Even so he went to war because he was scared of what others would think of him if he deserted.
I find it interesting that both of the religious schools that Marji attends have teachers that act the same way. This is despite the fact that they are schools with different religious backgrounds. When she is a child the teacher at her school brings down the lash on the students and at a certain point Marji can’t take it anymore and punches the teacher in the face. Later in the story when she is at the Christian boarding school the teachers behave very much the same way. They demand that the students behave a certain way and since Marji doesn’t like it she bursts out that all of the nuns were prostitutes.
I feel that the story provides this similarity between the two major religions of the world to prove a point. That both religions are basically the same thing. They both want people to be kind to others and do things like don’t have sex without getting married. There are also extremists in both religions. It is the extremists in the religions that seem to bring down the iron fist and fight other cultures. This is interesting because you would think that the extremists would become even more kind to others but instead they are the ones who end up trying to impose there will on others. In fact it seems that this occurs in everything including politics. This point of the similarity of the religions is also there to prove that when two different cultures are fighting each other they might as well fight themselves. This is because although many cultures are different in the foods they eat and the way they look most cultures believe in pretty much the same things.
There are many theories as to why Hitler hated the Jews or if he even did. These theories include being picked on as a kid, seeing Jewish people being successful , and using the Jews to unite Germany under his banner. Although I feel that all of these things may have contributed slightly I feel the main reason Hitler hated the Jews so much is that he loved Germany with all his heart. After WWI Germany fell to pieces. The economy shut down and a lot of Germans lost work. When people are in bad times it is much easier for them to cope with it by blaming others. It makes them feel better about themselves when it isn’t there fault. As a result there was already a lot of prejudice against the Jews. The Jews were even thought to be the only reason Germany lost the war. Not only that but seeing as the hated Jews were more successful than the average German the hatred was there. Hitler saw this prejudice. He also realized that Germany needed a strong leader if it was ever going to get out of the mess it was in. Hitler, who thought of himself as a genius and who might have been a little crazy, decided that it was his duty to bring his beloved country out from the dump it was in. He knew that to unite people they all had to believe in the same things and in order to get into power Hitler went strait for the Jews. He claimed that it was their fault that Germany was in such a bad situation. The German people who were in desperation listened to him intently and embraced everything he said. So now Hitler was in power and it was through the hatred of the Jews. Even so it didn’t get bad until Hitler started going crazy from his power. Hitler convinced himself that the Jews were solid evil and that all of them should be killed. He started rounding them up and sending them to concentration camps killing them for no reason. So what started as just a method to get into power became a rampage to kill every Jew in the country. Hitler continued to become crazier and crazier as the war went on and pretty soon the Holocaust was in full flight. Hitler originally just wanted to help out his country but I have the feeling he wasn’t stable in the head and the power he obtained drove him crazy.
A memoir is a story about some event that happened in the past and the experiences that go along with it. A memoir is usually told in first person and from the point of view of the author, however sometimes that is not the case. For example in Slaughterhouse Five the story is not told in first person in fact where we are in the book right now i’m not exactly sure who is telling the story. A memoir is also usually about an even that brings up strong feelings in the person writing the story. For example your not gonna see too many memoirs of the weekly trip to the grocery store. Unless of course something exciting and life changing happens while you are there. Memoirs aren’t always one hundred percent true. Alot of times people will exagerate the truth or change it slightly to create a better story and portray how they saw the event better. For example in “A Million Little Pieces” James Frey writes about his experience with drugs and how he became a better man in a rehabilitation center. In the book he is in the center for months and talks about how depressed he was because the parents of one of his friends blamed him for the death of their daughter. It turns out that he was only there for a couple of days and even though there was a girl who died when he was a teen he was not good friends with her and her parents definitly did not blame him for her death. I feel that although James Frey didn’t write the truth in his memoir it is still a memoir. The point of a memoir is to portray ones experiences and that is exactly what he did. He just expanded on the truth some to provide a more exciting story and to get his point across.
This story in general has been very interesting so far but the primary thing that I have read so far that I thought was cool was the whole theory of time in the story. In the book there are aliens called Tralfamadorians who can see time as if it were a 4th dimension. In their view everything has already been set and they just follow through time and do what they see themselves doing at that point in time. They also know nothing of free will claiming that the first time they ever heard about free will was when they encountered humans.
Many intelligent scientists have thought of time as a fourth dimension ever since Einstein brought this thought forward and it is very logical to think of time as a fourth dimension. For example there is a positive and negative direction. However unlike the other three dimensions one can not apply force to time therefore it is obviously different from the other three. Unless the reason we can not apply a force to time is that we are three-dimensional figures.
To help think of this think of a sheet of paper. This is in sense a two-dimensional object. If there were two-dimensional creatures in this object they could apply force in any direction along the paper but they would not be able to apply a force in a third dimension because they cannot move into this third dimension. The relationship between the third and fourth dimension would be the same way. Humans can apply force up, down, left, right, forwards, and backwards but we would not be able to apply force to a fourth dimension. In fact seeing as time is moving forward at a constant velocity I suspect that nothing in this universe can act on this fourth dimension.
So is time truly a fourth dimension? I don’t know but it definitely is possible and maybe the Tralfamadorians know the truth.
I am Chris Barish and am a Freshmen at Georgia Tech majoring in Aerospace Engineering. In English 1102 I intend to obtain a greater interest in reading and writing and hope to enjoy this class. My interests include backpacking, kayacking, hiking, mountain biking, and pretty much any other outdoor sport. I also play alot of xbox and watch alot of sports on Television. I love traveling and by ninth grade I’d been to all 50 states in the U.S. In high school I was very active in Scouting and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout which is an award that I am very proud of.
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