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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close By Johathan Safran Foer

1313 words - 6 pages

In Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a New York Times Bestseller in 2005(CITATION1) written by Johnathan Safran Foer, a child named Oscar searches all over New York’s Five boroughs to get an answer for a mysterious envelope he finds with the word “Black” written on it. Inside the envelope is a key, to which Oscar believes is important because it could potentially belong to his father, who had died during the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Taking place a year after the attacks, Oscar continues to have trouble dealing with the grief he feels over the loss of his father. Oscar’s solution is to create two types of inventions. The first type of invention would help him remember his father and ...view middle of the document...

Because of this, the stigma that Muslims are dangerous and/or are terrorists developed and persists to this day. In fact, in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, Oscar mentions his fear of Arab people and Turbans when he lists off things that make him panicky.
Oscar first discovers the envelope inside of a blue vase, which he had accidently dropped and smashed when trying to retrieve it. Oscar tells the reader that: “I started to clean everything up, and that was when I noticed something else weird. In the middle of all of that glass was a little envelope, about the size of a wireless Internet card. What the? I open it up, and inside there was a key…I couldn’t explain it: a fat and short key, in a little envelope, in a blue vase, on the highest shelf in his [his father] closet” (Foer, 37). Luckily for Oscar, his mother was playing loud music in another room, so he didn’t get in trouble. Unfortunately, now he needed to know why his father had a hidden envelope inside a vase. Oscar tested the key on every lock in the house, but it wouldn’t open any of them. Normally, most people would give up on this search, but Oscar thought it belonged to his dad. Because of this, it made him curious; he wanted to know what the key did; he needed to know why there was a key; he had to know more about his father. Oscar’s ability to cope with the loss of his father at this point was difficult, and finding this key made it, in my opinion, easier. It gave Oscar a purpose. Furthermore, it allowed Oscar’s mind to stop racing at night.
Before finding the key, Oscar opens up with the reader, mentioning that he struggles with doing little things like taking a shower or getting in an elevator. “Even after a year, I still had an extremely difficult time doing certain things…There was a lot of stuff that made me panicky, like suspension bridges…airplanes, fireworks…smoke…bags without owners…tall buildings…It’s just that everything was incredibly far away from me. It was worst at night. I started inventing things, and then I couldn’t stop…” (Foer, 36). Oscar lists multiple things that make him nervous, and that because of those things, he started inventing at night solutions to solve these problems. He then goes on to talk about beavers and how if they don’t file down their teeth, they would end up killing themselves. The idea that Oscar is neurotic begins to appear here, and appropriately shows up throughout the story. He bounces between reality and his fears to inventions, facts, and whatever else he finds interesting. Once again, his neuroticism causes him constantly think and...

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