Being Optimistic

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
If I were to ask you if you were an optimist or a pessimist, what would you answer? Is the glass half empty or half full? Undoubtedly, you’ve felt down at least once in your life. Sadness is an emotion everyone must deal with. In the beginning of the book Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Oskar is asked if he is an optimist, which he answers yes. Shortly after, Oskar loses his father, the most important person in his life, causing Oskar to fall into a period of extreme depression. He frequently has suicidal thoughts. Even though Oskar becomes extremely depressed after his tremendous loss, he still tries to be an optimist, even though at times his depression may win.

Oskar loses his father during the twin tower terrorist attacks on September 11th. From then on, everything in his life, in some way or another, is controlled by this catastrophic event. Oskar does not represent the mind of a normal 9 year old boy. Jonathan Safran Foer, author of this novel, said in an interview “Oskar’s not realistic. He’s too smart and at some points too naive to be a real 9 year old”. Oskar is an inventor. Many of his inventions have to do with ways to survive the 9/11 attacks, like the birdseed shirt that lets birds carry you if you need a quick escape, or the skyscraper that moves up and down, while its elevator stayed in the same place, so that if a plane hits below you, the building could take you to the ground. Even Oskar’s depression is controlled by the attacks. In a moment of depression, when Oskar imagined what it would be like to be there for the 9/11 attacks, he explained “Everything that’s born has to die, which means our lives are like skyscrapers. The smoke rises at different speeds, but they’re all on fire, and we’re all trapped”.

Before Oskar’s dad died, Oskar was an optimist and couldn’t be happier. Oskar and his dad would go on Reconnaissance Expeditions, which were basically scavenger hunts. Oskar’s dad would tell...
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