Analysis of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a wonderful example of a novel that deals with the many facets of life after a tragic event. The choice of love over fear is thrust upon the characters through inconsolable grief (Jain). Each of the main characters in the book has lost someone who they care about greatly, and they all must find different and unique methods of coping with this fact whether it be writing letters to an unborn son or going on a city wide search for a lock. The irony of the title is that tragedy is loud and close, but the people who can share and relieve grief such as family are all too quiet and far away (Jain). The major theme of the book is death and the ways one comes to terms with the loss of a loved one (Gina).

Jonathan Safran Foer, the Jewish-American Author of this novel as well as Everything is Illuminated, a book about the Holocaust, did not experience a great loss while he was growing up (Solomon). He was born in 1977 in Washington and later went on to be the valedictorian of his high school and study philosophy in college (Solomon). In other words, why does Foer want to write about tragic events such as these? He says, “Both the Holocaust and 9/11 were events that demanded retellings (Solomon).” He also stated, “As a writer, I am trying to express those things that are most scary to me, because I am alone with them. Why do I write? It’s not that I want people to think I am smart, or even that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness. Books make people less alone (Solomon).” The author thus writes of these tragedies to help others alleviate their solitude. One of the characters that deal with this theme is Oskar’s mother. She loses her husband, Thomas, in the World Trade Center collapse. Although they never find his body, she has a funeral with an empty casket as a way to manage with the death. She also attends a group for people that have lost loved ones. Because he lost his wife and daughter in a...
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