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I came to care very deeply for Oskar while reading this book. I didn’t always completely agree with his all of his decisions throughout the book, but what really matters are the intentions behind his actions. What caused me to like and feel connected to this nine-year-old boy was his heart. Oskar embarks on his search because he feels that it is the best way to remember his father–to feel close to him. His search for the lock becomes his “ultimate raison d’etre–the raison that was the master over all other raisons”(69). He feels the need to prove how much he remembers and loves his father. He does everything he can possibly think of to find the lock because in the end he “wanted to be able to say: I don’t know how I could have tried harder” (160).

What Oskar doesn’t realize is that he doesn’t have to prove how much he loves his father, and that it would be okay if he didn’t find that lock. But from the very beginning it is was evident to me that he loved his father with every core of his being. On page two Oskar wonders, “And also, there are so many times when you need to make a quick escape, but humans don’t have their own wings, or not yet, anyway, so what about a birdseed shirt?” He then invents on the next page a skyscraper that moves up and down which would be “extremely useful, because if you’re on the ninety-fifth floor, and a plane hits below you, the building could take you to the ground, and everyone could be safe, even if you left your birdseed shirt at home that day.” When reading passages like this it caused me to see Oskar as sad, desperate, childish, and hopeful all wrapped into one. The idea of a birdseed shirt, for example, is quite silly, but it is actually quite sad when one thinks of why Oskar has thought of it. He invents these sorts of things throughout the book, and it’s obvious that what he really wants is just for everything to be okay, and everyone to be safe. One part I particularly loved was his invention of the ambulance which would flash messages to people as it sped by, so that they would know whether or not to worry.

“And maybe you could rate the people you knew by how much you loved them, so if the device of the person in the ambulance detected the device of the person he loved the most, or the person who loved him the most, and the person in the ambulance was really badly hurt, and might even die, the ambulance could flash

GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU! GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU!

One thing that’s nice to think about is someone who was the first person on lots of people’s lists, so that when he was dying, and his ambulance went down the streets to the hospital, the whole time it would flash

GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU! GOODBYE! I LOVE YOU!” (72).

This idea is one that that portrays how strongly Oskar misses his father and how much he wished that his father had said “I love you” or even “goodbye” on the phone before the tower came down. The birdseed shirt, the skyscraper that moves up and down, the ambulance, and many more of Oskar’s inventions make him out to be someone who cares a great deal for others and wants them to be safe. His intentions reflect his good and caring heart and show that he really does want everything to be okay, and he wants to be okay. “It was true,” he reflects while listening to Hey Jude, “I didn’t want to make it bad. I wanted to take the sad song and make it better. It’s just that I didn’t know how” (207).

 

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