How does Alex's on-going commentary(in his letter to Jonathan) contribute to the novel's overall "meaning"
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The story progresses from two points of view; it is a dual narrative rather then authorship. Alex's point of view is presented through his narration of the young man's quest to find traces of Safran's family's savior (alove or dead). The second narration is told in the third-person omniscient where our narrator spins the story of the shtetl (small Jewish town) where the Jonathon's. The second narration, unlike the first, moves us forward in time to the present day.
The use of a dual narrative allows the author (Foer) a distinct number of opportunities to interject both comedy and contrast before the two begin to intermingle. History is humanized and a common line between the reader and what is foreign is drawn enabling the reader to empathize and understand. Alex's letter to Foer is light; it approaches history in a similar way to Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and emphasizes color, humor and atavism with nonsensical speech. It also has a vitality and truth which we often find lacking.
Everything is Illuminated