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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

LizardW, April 2, 2014

In the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, a nine year old boy, Oskar Schnell, deals with loneliness due to his father’s death from the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Oskar encounters grief due to his father’s death, neglection from his mother, insomnia, depression, and panic attacks. While searching through his father’s closet one evening, Oskar finds an envelope with the word “black” written on it, and a key inside. Oskar searches all around his apartment trying to find what the key opens. Eventually, Oskar searches all over New York, by himself, to discover what the mysterious key opens.
The setting of the novel was one of the most devastating times in American History. The were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked so they could be flown into buildings as suicide attacks. One of those buildings happened to be where Oskar’s father was killed.
Oskar describes himself wearing “heavy boots” frequently, which is when he is feeling sad or depressed. “I thought for a minute, then i got heavy boots” (39). He is very smart for his age, although he skips school frequently to go on his key hunt. “I love that story because it shows how ignorant people can be” (11). His father used to tell him stories and play intricate problem-solving games where Oskar would have to work hard to find the answer. Oskar’s dad was his hero and his life is falling apart without him. He develops many problems throughout the novel such as insomnia, depression, and panic attacks. At night Oskar invents strange things, such as kite-string bracelets and watering skyscrapers.
The book does a wonderful job of achieving its goal. The goal of the book is to inform readers of the effects the 9/11 attacks can have on everyone, no matter the age, and also the struggles of childhood innocence and coping with loss. Some ideas and possibilities suggested by the book are how tragic the event was, and how little some people know about the attacks, and coping with grief. The book leaves out how everyone around Oskar feels in the situation, because it is only from the point of view of Oskar. The not-so-convincing points of the book are that a nine year old boy would not be able to skip school and wander around New York all by himself, in real life. Foer controls all of the aspects of the book such as language, character, and plot. He decided that Oskar should be the one telling the story, which is interesting to see something tragic told through the eyes of a child.
Oskar is a young boy that goes on a life-defining journey around New York. He developed many problems including his neglecting mother, and coping with loss. His grandparents taught his a valuable lesson in the book: when something is left in a nothing place it could never be retrieved.
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