A Heartbreaking Genius Analysis

1326 Words 6 Pages
It’s no secret that in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers takes on a vastly different writing style than most audiences are used to. With his satirical, stream of consciousness technique of narrating the events of his life, Eggers is definitely a man of detail in vivid depictions of events and his thoughts along the way. Though Dave frequently gives readers an almost troublingly detailed recount of what he’s been through, there are instances in which Dave more subtly involves us in his narrative. Such an instance presents itself between pages 114 and 120 where what at first seems to be a conversation between Dave and Toph, is revealed to be Dave cathartically grappling with the problems he has with himself. I believe Eggers …show more content…
While Dave is not necessarily trying to be like his parents were, especially in the aspect of secrecy in regards to his father’s alcoholism, history is beginning to repeat itself. On page 115 Eggers recounts that he never spoke to friends about what went on in his house for his fear of judgement of himself and family, and seems to reject that way of living. Despite claiming that he and Toph are “The New Model” (Eggers 116) living a completely different life, the Eggers brothers seem to be living as a model very closely relating to that of their parents. Dave displays his guilt for keeping a messy home and life with Toph in upholding the normalcy of secrecy regarding their household. Not only is Dave trying to break free of the customs imposed on him in his upbringing, but he is also trying to justify his reasoning for writing this story on the basis of obligation to his parents’ memory and even himself. Toph scathingly claims, “You’re completely paralyzed with guilt about relating all this in the first place [...]. You feel somehow obligated to do it, but you also know that Mom and Dad would hate it, would crucify you”(Eggers 115). This observation draws on the idea that Dave does not actually like writing about the tragic events of his life, but it is the only way to deal with his feelings about the direction that his life is going juxtaposing …show more content…
In describing choices over the course of Dave’s life, such as not drinking, doing drugs, and destroying relationships over small flaws, Toph highlights the fact that Dave has a deep seated need to feel better than others. In the case of a relationship he ends with an older woman, it is revealed that Dave breaks up with her in a way that shames her and makes her “feel like a pariah, like a lower form of life” (Eggers 118). Instead of simply breaking up with her cordially, Dave feels the need to make her feel outcasted, possibly because he feels that this is how he is perceived by others. Shifting this feeling of not belonging onto others could be Dave’s way of coping with the fact that people now see him as a victim, so instead of accepting this out of hand he chooses to use it against those he interacts with. Now that Dave finally has that immunity card in light of his parents’ deaths, he can essentially “shoot from behind bulletproof glass” (Eggers 119) where no one can question him in fear of offending someone who has been through a lot. Dave does not let his misfortune cripple him, instead he revels in the privilege of being underprivileged behind his moral shield. This is an example of one of many coping mechanisms Dave possesses to assert control over his life. However, in this way he is controlling

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