Trauma Transfer & the Incapability of Language in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
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This paper explores how the traumatic experience of 9/11 is featured in post-9/11 fiction by focusing on Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. American post-9/11 authors have often been criticized for their focus on the domestic, mostly ignoring the global intricacies that 9/11 has spawned. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close engages the domestic by chronicling the life of young Oskar Schell in post-9/11 New York City and actively links his traumatic experiences with those of his grandparents, crossing generational and national boundaries, questioning conceived notions of victimhood and empathy. This strategy of transferring trauma is shown to be ineffective in aiding the characters in their quests to cope with their individual traumas, but when considered in conjunction with Foer’s distinct heterogeneous compositional style, could potentially help the reader with processing (9/11) trauma.