Study Guide

Everything Is Illuminated Love

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Love

If love makes the world go round, did the world stop during World War II? That just might be the fundamental question of Everything is Illuminated, which is all about trying to find love during difficult times. Brod has to find love, despite the death of her adopted father. Safran has to find love amidst all the hundreds of women he sleeps with. And Grandfather mourns the loss of a friend he loved (and whose death he caused) during the war. Love might be hard to find in Everything is Illuminated, but when you do find it, it lights up the world.

Questions About Love

  1. When does Safran realize that he loves the Gypsy girl? Why doesn't he tell her?
  2. Safran believes that it's impossible to love more than one person. Do you agree? Does he end up loving more than one person?
  3. Does Alex love Jonathan?
  4. Yankel and Brod create their own environment of love. Does this set unrealistic expectations for Brod regarding love in the real world?

Chew on This

People don't fall in love in this book; they have to work at it. For example, Yankel creates love for his ex-wife, and Safran has to work to realize that he loves the Gypsy girl.

Jonathan Safran Foer (the character) writes about love in the way he does because he himself has never been in love. That is why he sees love as a process, and not something natural.