Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Beyond the Monochrome; Take-Home Assessment
‘Generic conventions help readers to make meaning. Discuss the effect of conventions in a text you have studied.’
“Everything will be OK perfect.”
An expression. A metaphor. A symbol. Five meaningless words.
Our expectations of generic conventions help us to decipher meaning and purpose in texts but the use of unconventional techniques can be just as, if not more, useful for readers to interpret meaning. In Jonathan Safran Foer’s post-modernist text Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close unconventional techniques are pivotal in the construction of characters, settings and plot-lines. The subjective nature of this text explores the identity of one character in particular, Oskar’s Grandmother, using what are considered as unconventional styles of writing including letters, stream of consciousness, backwards stream, and the 3 narrative points of view. Through the disconformity to traditional and conventional writing techniques, these writing styles were essential in the construction of the Grandmother, in which I was encouraged to understand how others perceive her, how she deals with greif and what she represents not only within the text but understandings developed about the human condition.

In this post-modernist text, Oskar’s Grandmother’s identity is not typically revealed how we would expect it to. We never know her name, her personality traits or her appearance yet she becomes one of the most relatable, heart wrenching characters in the novel. This is portrayed through the three narrative points of view; Thomas senior, Oskar and the Grandmother herself, where we learn about her background, loss and importance. Through the use of these points of view I was encouraged to depict the notion that the Grandmother is defined by others. Through Thomas Senior it can be interpreted that he is a mask over her identity, trying to hide her grief for her beloved sister Anna, also Thomas’s pregnant girlfriend, who died in the...