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					Alf Sanford
Historian
Mr. Snyder
AP Seminar p. 2
1/27/2012


   1) “Once upon a time, New York City had a sixth borough.” – page 217

       Although used here to refer to the elaborate mission destination of Oskar’s father, the
       controversy of the “sixth borough” has been a heated debate between New Yorkers all, with the
       crux of the argument being which city should actually be added to the five boroughs of New
       York City. Alderman Elias H. Jacobs, Washington Heights Democrat, actually claimed he would
       post a bill that would make the city of Yonkers the “sixth borough.” The great debates over this
       concept of a sixth borough adds plenty of mystery to the story, with the origins of the idea
       stemming from unending debates with hundreds of valid points- each point represents another
       direction Oskar can take on his journey to find his father’s lock.

   2) “The very same engineers who dealt with the Leaning Tower of Pisa… which was where? (Italy! –
      Oskar) Right. They were brought over to assess the situation.” – page 219

       The Tower of Pisa took more than centuries to create, with construction beginning at August 9,
       1173 and ending in 1372. Although construction was so drawn out, the simple error of an
       unsettled foundation marked the tower in infamy for years and years to come. This blunder
       adds the necessity for meticulousness to Oskar’s journey, as the smallest mistake could prove
       catastrophic in his search, just as his failure to answer his father on the phone led to his days of
       regret.

   3) “The biggest fireworks show in history lit the skies of New York City that night, and the
      Philharmonic played its heart out.” – page 221

       The founder of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Ureli Corelli Hill, claimed that the creation
       of the orchestra (known originally as the Philharmonic Society of New York) was for “the
       advancement of instrumental music.” The idea that this group played at the release of the sixth
       borough, at a time of departure and loss provides insight to the effects of the loss of Oskar’s
       father in 9/11. Just as the loss of the sixth borough was signified as a day of celebration and
       concession, and is marked by the concept of “advancing,” the loss of Oskar’s death provides
       Oskar the opportunity to solve two of his mysteries and advance his capacity to love, care, and
       feel for others and the pain that comes with all.

   4) “What did you read?” “A Brief History of Time” “Is it any good?” “That’s not really a question
      you can ask about it.”

       This book was written by British physicist Stephen Hawking, and attempts to make light of the
       complexities of cosmology with the use of diagrams and one mere equation, E=MC2. When
       asked if it was any good, Oskar replies, “That’s not really a question you can ask about it.” He
       says this because there is no emotional context behind the book, and the subject matter is not
       debatable in his eyes, so it should be looked at through that appropriate lense. However, he fails
       to acknowledge that one can enjoy or be displeased with any aspect of life, emotionally rooted
       or not. This will provide troubles in his struggle to comprehend his feelings and regrets about his
       father’s passing.
Alf Sanford
Historian
Mr. Snyder
AP Seminar p. 2
1/27/2012

   5) “When the metal lids opened, I could see things that were far away incredibly close, like the
      Woolworth Building, and Union Square, and the gigantic hole where the World Trade Center
      was.”

       The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York, standing at 57 stories tall,
       with the commission for the building granted in 1910. This strong bridge back in time gives
       perspective to Oskar’s life in the grand scale of things- he is mere child in human eyes, and even
       younger compared to some things that have been around for decades like the building. This
       building is paired with the hole where the WTC building was, which allows for heavy contrast
       between life and death, and love and loss, which parallels with Oskar’s situation quite well.

				
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posted:8/20/2012
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