During Thursday’s class I was an avid supporter of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close not being magical realism to the point that I logged onto our blog to comment on the post about it possibly being a psychological realism in order to disagree and put the book in an undefinable area. However, I have since changed my mind thanks to the internet and search bars. I suppose that I was concentrating too much on the magical aspect of it so I looked up ‘magic’ in the Oxford English Dictionary in order to argue against the novel being magical realism and found these two interesting definitions:
An inexplicable and remarkable influence producing surprising results
without any apparent explanation
This got me to thinking that maybe Professor Sample was right. However, I might actually go as far as saying that it could be argued that there is magic in this book. If magic is indeed an event without any apparent explanation then I would say that our magic resides with Oskar’s grandfather. That I know of there is no psychological condition where a person can loose their ability to talk all together unless it was from a debilitating trauma. I know that there’s a psychological blindness but I wasn’t able to find something similar to that but with muteness. So, I would say there is no realistic way of explaining the grandfather’s loss of speech. It’s true there are events in his past that were traumatizing but the fact that he is still function enough to have his own apartment, interact with people, and marry someone seem to me what make his ailment a surprising result of his past (magic).The fact that it was never explained as anything out of the ordinary is interesting. We know he tattooed his hands, held conversations through pen and pink, and even wrote his thoughts down in the shower. I can’t think of an example where anyone pointed out the absurdity or strangeness of his not talking. It is stated that he didn’t talk and that was that.
To continue my search for the definition of magic and magic realism I went to another, but albeit less reliable, source… Wikipedia! I found an interesting quote about magical realism by Luis Leal that to me encapsulates the book as a whole, “If you can explain it, then it’s not magical realism.”. Our first discussion of the book included a quote from another teacher about her inability to talk about the novel out loud. We may be able to write about it but even from the conversations held in class and the blogs written it seems a novel that is somewhat beyond easy explanation. So I am taking the leap and a stretch to conclude with the idea that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close can, for more reasons than stated, be considered magical realism with the magic.
Tags: magical realism
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