In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, three traumatised characters link two extreme events (9/11 terrorist attack and the firebombing of Dresden.) A past trauma is reactivated by a new trauma. All three traumatised characters have a different way of coming to terms with their experiences. Oskar’s grandfather, Thomas Schell, has survived by the firebombing of Dresden but his pregnant girlfriend has not. His trauma is connected with the guilt of his survival while his girlfriend died. Thomas is suffering from aphasia – the loss of speech and he is unable to share his traumatic experiences with others. Thomas’s loss of speech goes hand in hand with his losing Anna in Dresden. His psychological impairment progresses to speech loss. Trauma must be admitted, not repressed or denied. He is unable or he refuses to express his traumatic experience. We realize that he is unwilling to come to terms with the present situation due to his relationship with his wife. They created Nothing and Something Places in their apartment once they were married. Nothing Places are rectangles of space that do not exist and when someone occupies a Nothing place stops to exist as well. He even makes love in a Nothing Place. Thomas is unable to love and live with a woman that is not Anna, his girlfriend who died. He cannot relinquish the memory of his beloved Anna. He tries to be as close to her by marring her sister. Using language suggests at least some form of coming to terms or comprehension, and that is what Thomas wants to avoid at all cost. Thomas is stuck on the melancholic process of trauma.