Monday, September 21, 2009


Today i just finished the book Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer and I found it to be a strangely confusing and dazzling book. The chapter that impacted me on a profound level was the chapter in which Grandfather was explaining how he gave up his friend Hershel to the Jews in order to save him and his family.
...Who is a Jew the General asked me again and i felt on my other hand the hand of grandmother and i knew that she was holding your father and that he was holding you and that you were holding your children I am so afraid of dying I am soafraidofdying Iamsoafraidofdying Iamsoafraidofdying and I said he is a Jew who is a Jew the General asked and Hershel embraced my hand with much strength and he was my friend he was my best friend I would have let him kiss Anna and even make love to her but I am I and my wife is my wife and my baby is my baby do you understand what I am telling you I pointed at Hershel and said he is a Jew this man is a Jew please Hershel said to me and he was crying tell them it is nottrue please Eli please two guards seized him and he did not resist... pgs. 250-251
The Holocaust made people do unspeakable things towards family and friends. This book does a good job of highlighting the sorrow and the anguish that survivors still experience to this day. I hate that Eli is forced to choose between his family and his best friend in this passage. Either way he would loose people he loved and would have to live with it for the rest of his life. I can't even imagine being in Eli's situation. You can tell that Eli and Hershel were best friends because it says that Eli would even let Hershel have sex with his wife. The closeness of Hershel and Eli makes Eli's decision even more gut-wrenching. Eli's experience should teach future generations that we must learn from the mistakes of the Holocaust in order to enforce the future.
This excerpt stood out to me because of the unique wording and because of the guilt and anguish that Eli is conveying to the reader. This excerpt that I chose is only a small part of a long run on sentence that spans two to three pages and talks about Eli's experience in the Holocaust. I like this style of writing because you can tell that Eli is anxious and panicked as he relates his story. The words that run together such as, "Imsoafraidofdying," emphasize the scared, rushed tone. This Holocaust story has remained in my mind long after I put the book down.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am currently reading the book Everything is Illuminated by Johnathan Safran Foer. Ideas of love keep on coming up throughout different and unexpected parts of this book. This passage stuck in my brain even after I had put the down.

"His condition worsened. In time, Brod could expect a sound beating every
morning before the Kolker went to work- where he was able, to the bafflement of
all doctors, to refrain entirely from outbursts- and every late afternoon before
dinner. He beat her in the kitchen in front of the pots and pans, in the living
room in front of their two children, and in the pantry in front of the mirror in
which they both watched. She never ran from his fists, but took them, went to
them, certain that her bruises were not marks of violence, but violent love. The
Kolker was trapped in his body- like a love note in an unbreakable bottle, whose
script never fades or smudges, and is never read by the eyes of the intended
lover- forced to hurt the one with whom he wanted most to be gentle." pg. 130

The Kolker's medical condition causes him to randomly have violent outbursts towards Brod on a regular basis. The fact that the Kolker doesn't experience his outbursts at work show that his frustration builds up until he gets home and he hits Brod even when he's trying to be gentle. Because Brod welcomes the Kolker's blows, this illuminates her complete dependence on him for happiness. She admits that she never truely loved him, but she still needs him in order to survive. I feel bad for the Kolker because his punches and harsh words have become the only way for him to love Brod.

I especially like the image of the unbroken bottle with a love letter inside. It stresses the pain, love lost, and sacrifice that both Brod and the Kolker are going through. The Kolker simply wants to give Brod the love and affection she deserves and Brod wants the Kolker to be happy even with his disease. The odd ailment that the Kolker possesses leads to a barrier between himself and Brod. They can no longer love or care for each other in a proper way. The passage about the love note made me unbearably sad and stressed the love lost between the once happy Brod and the Kolker.