Themes and message

Grief and guilt

One of the major themes of “Let’s Go to the Videotape” written by Fiona Maazel is grief and guilt.

After the death of his wife due to a car accident, Nick struggles with facing his feelings of grief. Nick avoids talking about the accident with his son Gus or with his friends. He is also sceptical of seeking help or connecting with other people who have similar experiences. Therefore, he refuses to go to support groups because he thinks they “contrived relationships among people whose only shared interest was grief” (l. 66). However, Nick is aware that his life is ruled by grief, and he starts using social media to cheer up and communicate his feelings and to avoid dealing with the darker sides to his son’s and his own loss.

As a young child who has been through a traumatic accident, Gus is obviously affected by the events and also grieves over the loss of his his mother. After the accident, Gus develops a speech impediment (l. 46). He also struggles with intense feelings of sadness and remorse which make him depressed (l. 4). The fact that he has survived the accident while his mother did not also triggers trauma in the form of survivor guilt. He states that “now she’s dead and I’m not” (l. 117), and he blames himself for the accident: “ ‘I feel bad a lot of the time. I think about what if I didn’t get sick’ ” (ll. 139-140). 

However, Gus expresses his feelings about the accident only through a video meant for a school project. He is unable to talk directly to his father about it - perhaps because...

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