The experiences of Oskar from the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are very similar to those of the newly recruited soldiers of All Quiet on the Western Front.
Oskar Schell is much like the soldiers. They are both on a mission, loaded with their backpack and gadgets, off on their quests.
The biggest similarity between Oskar and the newly recruited soldier is their fears. Single moments in their lives have changed both of these people. Oskar has developed fears of crying people, loud noises, airplanes, public transportation, among other things. All of things greatly bother Oskar because he heard all of these things during his Dad’s last phone message before the line went dead. Oskar’s father died because he was inside the twin towers during the 9/11 attack. The new recruits quickly develop fears on the battlefield. They are no used to the sounds of machines guns, dying soldiers, and all of the tragedies and horrors seen during war. Once their first battle has occurred, the soldiers quickly develop fears of these things.
There is only one solution to these problems: love and companionship. Oskar’s drive to find the lock for the key is also what is destroying him. Looking and searching is slowly driving Oskar insane until “The Renter” begins to help Oskar. Every Saturday, they go out on a journey together, travelling the streets and visiting all of the people with the last name Black. “The Renter” helps Oskar get over his fear of public transportation and begins to heal him. Even after the lock is found, Oskar is not satisfied with the result and becomes even more unhappy. Oskar’s mother finally brings Oskar back to sanity and helps him to rid of his fears. She shows Oskar that she is not an “absent parent” and that she is there for Oskar. Just like Oskar, the newly recruited soldies cannot rid of their fears without the help of the other soldiers. The other soldiers who have already seen many battles make the recruits feel more at home. The more senior soldiers comfort the new recruits, and help to ease their fears, much like “The Renter” and Oskar’s mother did.
The final stage is peace and happiness. With their fears rid of because of love, Oskar and the soldiers can be happy. Oskar was afraid to go on the swings at Central Park because he was afraid that they would not be safe, and he would fall off and get hurt. At the end of the movie, Oskar is without fear and jumps on the swing, swinging for the first time in his life, and finding his peace of mind and happiness. The newly recruited soldiers do find peace, like Oskar, but in a different way. Now the soldiers can go into battle without some of their fears. They can go into battle in a state of mind that is bravery, but not stupidity. Companionship is often greatly undervalued, but love and companionship is the only way to find true peace of mind.
I’ll leave you with this:
“Sometimes we have to face our fears.”-The Renter
“I didn’t know what was waiting for me. Although my stomach hurt and my eyes were watering I’d made up my mind that nothing was gonna stop me. Not even me.”-Oskar Schell