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A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius

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The setting begins with a feeling of sadness and an overwhelming sense that something awful is going to happen. We have been first released to Dave, a teenager of only We later find out that Dave's mother is little by little deteriorating scheduled to cancer tumor, as Dave needs us through every excruciating details of his mother's painful trip, we learn that she isn't the only person plague d with this horrible disease. The daddy, who has a long record of smoking and drinking alcohol, dies scheduled to lung tumors, but manages to keep it a solution from his family.

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"factory", plain, sterile, lifeless, not someplace you'd voluntarily want to be

Societal pressure is taking a toll on the Eggers' family, especially Dave

Dave's anger and irritation towards the people of society for not truly understanding what his family is going through

Dave fantasizes of gruesomely murdering the people who are fortunate enough never to be suffering through the pain of someone you care about plagued with cancer

Dave identifies his mother as a solid willed women who is willing to battle for her family and "protect what she cares about" (pg 16)

Dave says "the house sits over a sinkhole. Our house is the main one being swept up in the tornado, the tiny train- placed model house floating helplessly, pathetically around in the howling black funnel. " (pg 17)

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

Setting -As we are first introduced to the story, the author immediately starts off by talking about the environment, which explains to us just how important it is. This feeling that he envelops in visitors in just the first few phrases leaves reader's feeling uneasy and the sense that something bad is going to happen.

Plot -it reveals the turmoil between Dave and the city as he feels his family has been watched constantly, their sense of level of privacy within the community is gone

Plot -the issue with people in the culture builds up as Dave's anger and irritation increases

Imaginative Characteristics -it shows Dave's devotion to his family and how much he cares for them, he shows this by using imagery of murdering individuals who find out about their family's situation in a humourous sick and tired and gory way

Character Development (Dave) -he has an interesting way of explaining his emotions towards his family, but it shows his true aspect and personality-- he's not frightened of expressing himself differently

Character Development(Dave's mom) -she is a loving and caring mother who would put her family's needs before her own and do whatever needs doing to guard their safe practices and well-being

Imaginative Characteristics -uses imagery to help visitors visualize the state of problems and catastrophe the family is certainly going through

-of all residences it had to be theirs that was plagued with fatality and sadness and they haven't any control over it, holding out helplessly


"Through the small tall bathroom screen the December backyard is gray and scratchy, the trees and shrubs calligraphic. " (pg 1)

"But the family room, the only room where any of us has ever spent any time, is definitely, for better or worse, the best reflection in our true inclinations. It certainly is been jumbled, the furniture rivalling, with clenched teeth and sharp elbows, for the honor of the Most Wrong-looking Thing. " (pg 6)

"Everyone knows. Everyone is conversing. Waiting around. " (pg14)

"I have plans to them, the nosy, the inquisitive, the pitying; have developed elaborate fantasies for those who would see us as grotesque, pathetic, our situation gossip folder. " (pg 14)

"I picture strangulations-Tsk tsk, I notice she'sgurgle!-neck breakings-what will happen compared to that poor little bo-crack!- I picture kicking bodies as they rest curled on the ground, spitting bloodstream as they-Jesus Christ, Jesus fucking Christ, I'm sorry, I am sorry!-beg for mercy. . . . " (pg 14)

"We are ready. We aren't ready. People know. " (pg 17)


-This quote discloses the atmosphere which envelops the storyline for example, the lawn referred to as "gray and scratchy" gives the impression that this is an uneasy and alternatively bland atmosphere

-The winter setting up could represent the character, Dave's feelings of being frozen, discussing time located still

-It may possibly also symbolize loss of expectation or even death

-The trees and shrubs are described as "calligraphic" which is a form of aesthetic art, this may be interpreted as an unreal, dreamlike vision that Dave wishes he was seeing

-This quote reveals the talk about of chaos and confusion the family is in for this reason horrible fate. Dave explains this sense in reader's when he says that the family room reflects the family's express of being

-This quote reveals the surroundings of the Egger's family, the pressure of contemporary society watching, watching their every move. Understanding that one day their family will break apart and they will have the ability to watch the devastation of the family.

-This quote uncovers Dave's emotional state at this time, his rage towards society, whether the folks who are nosy and can't help but enter others' business or those who feel sorry for this family, whatever the reason Dave is enraged by these folks.

-Perhaps they are simply offering him pressure by being watched or possibly Dave is jealous these people need not endure this awful situation as well

-This quote uncovers Dave's sick humour, gory sense of imagination as it pertains to talking about his emotions about his family.

-It shows his devotion and genuine care for his family as he's ready to do anything for the coffee lover -he would get rid of for his or her own protection and protection

-Personality is very protecting and

-This quote uncovers the family's emotional express of confusion and emotions of disorientation as they can are uncertain of their state of mind in this situation

-This quote links to the theme of loss of life and loss because the Egger's know that it's just a matter of time before their mother breathes her previous breath

Part II -Please look. Is it possible to see us, ETC.

Short Summary:

After the quick fatalities of both parents, only five weeks aside, the three eldest children are left with custody with their more radiant brother, Toph. Dave and Beth opt to sell their home in Illinois, there are way too many memories and occasions of happiness and sadness for the reason that home that moving on would be impossible. They decide to proceed to California hoping to escape their dreadful past and start a new life, the three live under one roof. Since Dave graduated from college or university he devotes his entire summer to Toph aiming to make up for the sadness in the last winter. In the meantime Beth prepares for laws institution and Kirsten, Dave's lover searches for a job. Dave discovers it difficult to be participate in society, as he is unsure what to call himself now, is he a mom, father, brother, or all the above. At Toph's little league game he attempts to take on the role of "single mother" but realizes that he could never easily fit into like the other moms which he'll continually be different.

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Setting- the sublet that Dave, Beth, Kirsten and Toph are in is totally filthy, conflict between the three of these about hygiene

The "whipping game" that Dave and Toph play where Toph pretends to be the kid being abused and Dave the mother or father who's whipping him with the belt

Dave calls the parents of Toph's classmates

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-This state that their moving into represents their interior chaos and confusion that they're all going through as a result of the parents' unexpected deaths

-Reveals discord building between your characters as they are put to the best obstacle of living together without parental aid and guidance

-This game reveals both of their thoughts and their personality, they play this game for the amusement of pretending to be father or mother and child fighting with each other when in reality they may be truly taking on those roles

-Their personalities are both ridiculous and outrageous as they find this game very amusing and fun

-He does indeed this as a prank to other kid's in Toph's category who don't grasp Toph's difficult situation and what he's been through so Dave educates them a lesson by informing their parents of this behaviour


"They worry for us. I worry for us. I be anxious that any minute someone-the law enforcement, a kid warfare firm, a health inspector, someone-- will burst in and arrest me, or possibly just shove me around, make fun of me, call me bad titles, and then take Toph away. "

(pg 82)

"We are always late, always half done. All university forms have to be sent double, and I have to side them in late. "

(pg 83)

"They are really scared. They are simply jealous. We live pathetic. Our company is stars. We have been either sad and sickly or we live attractive and new. " (pg 96)

"But we!-we are great looking! We've style, which is messy, rakish, yet so intriguingly so, singular. We could new and everyone else is old. " (pg 96)

"My goal, a goal I honestly


-This quote reveals the confusion and be concerned that Dave seems taking on the role of his parents so that Toph can live a life as normal as it can be

-This quote connects to the theme of reduction once we are shown how difficult a time this was on all of their lives' and how it's starting to affect them

-This quote reveals the unorganized disorientated condition Dave is within as he is newly altering to parenthood, it shows us precisely how unready Dave was to take on this role

-At Toph's open house they realize precisely how different they may be from the rest, everyone is either a parent or guardian or child, no other. They stick out in either a good or bad way.

-Shows the drift between them and the world, they feel isolated because they're not the typical "family"

-Reveals Dave's laid back unorganized style and how he chooses to improve Toph living under these conditions

Part III: The opponents list, ETC.

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They soon find out that living under one rooftop is not advisable or good for either of these, so they opt to move into independent places. Beth and Kirsten find individual places in Berkley, while Dave and Toph transfer to a small house. We have been created to Dave's enemies list, which is dependant on girlfriends unfit to be an effect to Toph. Dave tries to discover a way to include Toph in as well, making certain he's always having fun. But if at any time Dave feels this person is unworthy of Toph's existence they are really automatically considered an opponent to him.

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Dave and Kirsten are taking a period of time which they've double already, he talks about that he could enjoy flexibility and venture out but instead he selects to stay with Toph

Opponents list Dave has made is dependant on Toph's best intentions at heart, Dave no longer thinks that his own view about this person matters, as long as they may be unfit to be around Toph, these are as well to him

What is significant/Important about each little bit of information:

-Reveals how much Dave care's for Toph, giving up his former socialite and partying arena for the sole parent role

-Reveals theme of family, what Dave is eager to sacrifice for Toph's benefit of growing up without people that are unfit to be near Toph


"Beth and I remain thinking it's prematurily. to leave Toph with anyone but family that to do otherwise would cause him to feel unwanted and alone, resulting in the warping of his fragile psyche" (pg 106)

"The no baby-sitter rule is only one of many, so so many, all essential to keep this thing along, keep it from spinning out of control. " (pg 107)

"As for my own internet dating, easily am venturing out on something like a time frame, and wee venture out early on, and the night out involves an activity that Toph might enjoy, then of course Toph comes" (pg 107)


-This quote unveils motivation when planning on taking good care of Toph rather than wanting anyone else to do it but them

-Shows they have got Toph's best motives at heart and that they have put a whole lot of thought into this decision

-Reveals their worries about leaving Toph with a stranger

-doesn't want Toph to develop up sacrificing more customers of family than he already has

-Reveals Dave's determination to stop everything he previously including dating to his new priority, Toph.

-He even includes him into his schedules and attempts to amuse Toph instead of the women he is dating at that point in time.

Part IV-Oh I possibly could be venturing out, sure

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Dave happens to be taking a respite from dating Kristen. This gives Dave an opportunity to venture out but is paranoid because he doesn't have a babysitter for Toph. Dave creates a set of rules to for just about any future girlfriend that he schedules. All of these rules develop around how Toph gets cured. Dave said that Beth and her group of friends are not allowed everywhere near Toph simply because her friends tend to talk about how they acquired drunk among other subject. Dave thinks that if Toph is surrounded by Beth and her friends, Toph will learn their bad traditions. Also, the "date person" wouldn't normally try to "understand" Dave's situation. By situation this implies discussing Dave's useless parents and hoping to tell him that they understand.

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Guidelines regarding dating


What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-This unveils the theme of family since Dave does not want at this point for Toph's sake. Also, Dave makes a set of rules for himself if going out with. These guidelines are to avoid Toph from seeing that Dave will time anybody.

-Dave concerns when he leaves Toph with a babysitter. It is because Dave feels that the babysitter can do something amiss.


"When the legend of the something-like-a-date expresses any reservations about having Toph along, she is clearly an extremely bad person. If she feels that because Toph is brought along to supper, that this means I love her less, that he's serving as some type of buffer, then she actually is misguided and self-centered and also a bad person. If when she comes over she questions anything about the express of the house-"Oh God, there's food under the couch!" or even "Holy bachelor pad!"-or worse, any parental decisions manufactured in her company or otherwise, she actually is first glared at in Toph's presence, later lectured out of his earshot. . . . . and exactly how dare they say anything these people, these lotus-eating simpletons who have never known have difficulties, who never question other parents" (pg 107-108)

"You don't need to carry this on it's own (pg 108). "


-Describes all the people Dave consider to be "very bad people to time frame" every attribute of the reason behind thinking they may be bad is consideration for Toph not Dave's own known reasons for disliking that person in particular

-He says these folks are not able to understand their situation and understand the sort of devotion and work it takes to worry of a child

-It reveals that Dave's world now revolves around Toph and what's beneficial to Toph's life, not his own anymore

Part V -Outside it's blue-black and getting darker, ETC.

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Toph's new babysitter Stephen comes to take care of Toph. While Stephen has been Toph, Dave determines to take a break from home so he would go to this bar. Initially, Dave is very relaxed at venturing out but then he starts to worry. In the bar he fulfills a lot of friends in the pub including John who also lost his parents. Dave feels more comfortable with his friends since it reminds him of the fits in Chicago. John starts off to ask about Toph but Dave changes the subject because he doesn't want to discuss him. Dave also meets this girl called Jenna. Dave starts to make up stories about his life. After he surface finishes his report he goes straight home because he's concerned about Toph.

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Stepping away from being " the father or mother"

What is significant/Important about each little bit of information:

-In this section, we see that Dave is going for a break from keeping yourself home. After departing Toph with a babysitter, although still concerned, he leaves to go to a club.


"I've risked everything for this (pg 133)?"


-Dave says this while he's in the pub. He says this because he sees that everyone around him is calm and having a good time. Dave is not having fun because he is concerned about Toph at home and set up babysitter is caring for him.

Part VI -When we listen to the news headlines at first

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A magazine is manufactured with the help of Dave's friends. This range for the publication is made for twenty time olds. While working on the newspaper, Dave wants to test for a spot on the MTV show. MTV number would like to ask him how Dave's life is and everything. These questions that are asked makes Dave think properly about his situation with anything that is certainly going on about his life.

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Taking care of Toph

Communicating about his father and mother

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-While MTV is question we also begin to understand what the type traits is ideal for Dave.

-Near the end of the questioning, Dave starts off to speak about his father and mother. Dave's daddy used to get drunk and his mother used going to him.


"I am emboldened by children, unfettered and hopeful, though inextricably linked with the past and future by my beautiful brother, who is part of both. Can you not see that people are extraordinary? That we were designed for another thing, something more? All of this did not happened to us for naught, I could assure you - there is absolutely no logic compared to that, there is certainly logic only in assuming that we experienced for grounds. Just give us our due (pg 236). "


-Near the end, Dave says he is extraordinary. This is because although he has suffered since his parents died, he is aiming to be the best father or mother for Toph.

Part VII-Stupid show.

Short Summary:

Dave does not get selected for the show. Instead the show selects Judd, a cartoonist. When Judd delivers Mightmagazine a group of his cartoons and asks to be a contributor, Dave jumps at the opportunity to interviewhim, understanding that the show's video cameras would be asked to follow him. Dave and his fellow editors have several conferences with Judd. The conferences are mundane and obviously contrived for the surveillance cameras, but they do have the ability to appear on one of the episodes of the show. Dave and his fellow editors decide to have another nude photo shoot, this time around with the idea of displaying how different everyone's body are. More people agree to the throw since Dave offers that their faces will not be shown plus they can keep on the underwear.

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Dave striving to imagine Toph when he's older

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-Character is shown though this dialogue. When Dave imagines Toph to be older he wishes Toph to be proud that Dave elevated him properly.


"I'll never forget my buddy, who tried so difficult and suffering such a long time, lifted me within the mind of the throng to meet my future (webpage 291). "


-While imagining Toph becoming the president, Dave believes that Toph would say these words because he thinks that Toph can be an idol when he matures.

Part VIII-We can't do anything about the excrement on the floor.

Short Brief summary:

In the midst to be kicked out of these office, Mightputs out an issue that includes editor-created awards for made-up celebrities. Among these "celebrities"is a musician that the tv show, Where on earth is Carmen San Diego?now wants to hire to be on their show. Amused by the misunderstanding, Mighteditors create the appearance without revealing to the show's producer their joke. Obviously, the musician will not arrive. Dave and Kirsten, who've been dating off and on since giving Illinois, have finally broken up and Kirsten has shifted to SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. At this time, Beth has graduated from laws schooland taken employment with an attorney in San Francisco. Beth decides to go together with Kirsten.

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Dave chatting with Toph

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-This also uncovers Dave's growing figure because Dave doesn't want to directly ask Toph when talking about issues. Instead, Dave is very elusive when talking to Toph


"I consider my options carefully and, because I am a expert of strategy, make a decision that the only way to get any information whatsoever is to add as little as possible in the form of, say, ridicule to the talk (webpage 299). "


-This "evasion" strategy is seen throughout the publication. This method means that Toph will open up to Dave. If Dave asks straight, Dave believes that Toph will never be as genuine.

Part IX-Robert Urich says no.

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Dave and his fellow editors have come up with the thought of making fun star obituaries by owning a fraudulent obituary for a full time income movie star. Dave and his team contact several celebrities whose professions are on a down glide and can use that type of publicity, but nothing show interest until they contact Adam High. Adam Rich, who is on the show Eight is Enough, agrees to be wiped out off by the magazine. The magazine works a full pass on in the publication, claimingRich has been murdered. Right away they begin to get response from tv set shows and other periodicals, but are forced to acknowledge the joke when they cannot prove their history. Adam's friends and family are traumatized by the article, believing its cases until they see Adam face to face.

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Dave tries to comprehend why Toph is acting the way he's.

What is significant/Important about each little bit of information:

-Throughout the storyline, we gradually notice that Toph is behaving differently. This shows Toph's inward issue.


"You like you're pleading for help (webpage 322). "


-Dave is very worried about Toph. It is because Dave feels that Toph doesn't see himself as the standard kid.

Part X-Of course it's wintry.

Short Overview:

Dave profits to Chicago one December to attend the weddingof a school good friend. While there Dave determines he will visit his years as a child homeand the funeralparlour where his parents'bodies were prepared before being donated to a local college. Dave imagines heading to the university and speaking with the professorin fee of the bodies, to ask what it was like when he cut into his mother's abdomen. Dave is obsessed with the image his creativity provides in response to this question and he must know the real answer. Dave is staying with a couple of senior high school friends while he is around. They spend the first night catching through to local gossip, discussing old classmates, especially Vince Vaughn, who has a budding operating career.

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Dave think about the stone as being "eternal"

Dave explains to John what he dreamed about

What is significant/Important about each piece of information:

-The stone in this case is the imaginative quality. The stone is represented to be "eternal. "

-When Dave says John his desire, this places more emphasis to the theme of death.


"A rock would save me, would salvage all the destruction we'd already done, all the things we had given up or lost (web page 381). "

"You understand what's funny, finished. I had been most worried about as i was down there, in the South Side, driving around and talking into the tape recorder? I used to be worried that after I was shot near the lake, that the murderer, who really only wanted the car, would for reasons uknown find and play the tape, the main one where I'm describing my imagining someone like him eradicating me, and all of this stuff about locating the box, and that murderer would think I'm this racist weirdo- (web page 387). "


-The stone sometimes appears as being eternal. This is contrasted with how Dave is sense. Since the natural stone to Dave is eternal, Dave seems confused.

-This offer is proof that the theme is around death. Through the entire book, the death of his mom and dad sometimes appears. Dave probably longs for this because he is not over his parents' death.

Part XI-Black Sands Beach is merely ten minutes from SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA.

Short Synopsis:

Dave and Toph are on the way to the beach. Toph is supposed to have a test that day to get into a private high school. Dave must move Beth to the office when he registered Toph to show that their parentsare dead and Dave has guardianship. The whole thing is a huge creation. However, Dave decides that Toph does not need to use the test because he has chose they will go on to New York. Dave is preparing to be by himself with Toph, without Beth as a back-up. Mightmagazinehas lost its lease again and is jogging out of money. The editors have been rushing all over trying to find financial support, but have didn't drum up any interest. The journal is finally done.

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Dave is concerned about being caught taking care of Toph as a guardian

Dave is sick and tired of folks pitying him and Toph

What is significant/Important about each little bit of information:

-Since Dave is not technically Toph guardian, this creates turmoil. This is because later on, when Toph has to take the city's senior high school test, he's not allowed because Dave does not have proof that he's Toph's guardian.

-Throughout the book Dave will not like it when others pity him. This discloses outward discord.


"This experienced come up before, the guardianship thing, the proof-where is this facts?-and always I have been afraid to be found out. All this time, a fraudulence (webpage 409). "

"Whatever. I'm just another one particular people whose tragedies you sensed fit into the overall message (page 432). "


-This quote shows discord because Dave does not have proof that he's Toph's guardian, Toph cannot take the test.

-Dave emphasizes that he detests how people around him think that he is battling because he has to manage Toph. This is how outward turmoil is shown.

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