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Symbol: The Falling Man
The idea of there being more birds in New York City than people, and the fact that birds mean a lot to Oskar. For example, he created the bird seed shirt so that it could save people from dying in the same type of way that his father did.
Seeing the the falling man shows an image of ultimate hopelessness. When looking at the image you know the man is jumping to his death. However, Oskar makes a flip book of the falling man and reverses the image in an attempt to replace terror with comfort.
A doorknob on fire would make you completely helpless, and doors have keys. So this imagery mirrors Oskar's journey as well. So there is a possibility that Oskar's key could of helped his grandfather, but that only if he stayed around.
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