College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

English Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in English



Primary Advisor

Carol MacCurdy


Jonathan Safran Foer in his novel Everything is Illuminated (2002), engages and overturns traditional notions of love. In his work, love, as an exalted feeling, does not exist outside of animalistic desire. Instead, as Foer proposes through the numerous and complex relationships of his characters, love exists in an illusion as the individual defines and creates it. To love is to willfully choose to believe in this idealism. For this idealism, whose existence is impossible within the broken nature of this world, must be sustained in an artifice once-removed from reality. Everything is Illuminated thus suggests that without fiction, reality is impossible. Language and fiction become a catalyst, connecting the love created in one’s illusion into a tangible narrative reality may recognize. Without language, illusions go undefined, love is not created, and the modern awareness of one another’s depravity is re-exposed, rendering relationships and thus procreation impossible.