Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

November 23, 2014

Hello classmates!

My name is Hannah, and I have chosen the novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer for this project. It's one of my favorites, and it strikes a curious balance between relying on abstract ideas and yet still using powerful images. I hope for it to be a good challenge.

For those of you that haven't read the book (or seen the move featuring Elijah Wood), it has a couple of narratives interwoven their way throughout the novel. The main narrative is of a young Jewish author making the trek to Ukraine to find the woman that saved his grandfather during WWII. He meets up with his translator and translator's grandfather, who are his guides while he is in Ukraine, and forms a very interesting relationship with the two men. Ultimately, for me, it is a story about love, happiness, and guilt.

I read the book first in 2012, so when I began brainstorming and free-writing, I started by writing out each part of the book that I underlined or had any kind of annotation next to it. From there, I started listing words, phrases, etc. And came up with this:

Brainstorming

And then, the snowballing just kept happening, planting a little seed into my head: What is Ukrainian art like? Place plays such a role in the book, so I figured that this might be a rabbit hole worthy of research! I didn't imagine that I would love Ukranian art so much, but that was a welcome suprise, for sure. A little tidbit of trivia... The art of the decorated Easter egg began in Ukraine.

The words that kept ringing in my mind's eye were hands, pointing (from a major scene) and travel/journey/ancestry as an overall theme. Well, I guess it's time to start sketching!

Nov 27, 2014

So the first of the sketches that I digitalized is based off of a scene in the book where there is a line of people (I don't want to give anything away!). My initial struggle with it is I feel like it lacks personality... What are your thoughts? Please, all feedback is welcome!

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