(A Response to 9-11 by Jonathan Safran Foer)

Total Word Count: 1189
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"It’s all electronic these days. Key pads. Thumbprint recognition." "That’s so awesome." "I like keys." I thought for a minute, and then I got heavy, heavy boots. "Well, if people like me are a dying breed, then what’s going to happen to your business?" "We’ll become specialized," he said, "like a typewriter shop. We’re useful now, but soon we’ll be interesting." "Maybe you need a new business." "I like this business."

How does the narration shape Oskar’s characterization in this excerpt?

It reveals his naivete.

I knew I could never let Mom hear the messages, because protecting her is one of my most important raisons d’être, so what I did was I took Dad’s emergency money from on top of his dresser, and I went to the Radio Shack on Amsterdam.

What assumption does the narrator make in this excerpt?

that the messages would increase his mother’s suffering

Which line from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reveals a despondent tone?

I zipped myself all the way into the sleeping bag of myself, not because I was hurt, and not because I had broken something, but because they were cracking up.

Even after a year, I still had an extremely difficult time doing certain things, like taking showers, for some reason, and getting into elevators, obviously. There was a lot of stuff that made me panicky, like suspension bridges, germs, airplanes, fireworks…A lot of the time I’d get that feeling like I was in the middle of a huge black ocean, or in deep space, but not in the fascinating way. 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, like beavers, which I know about. People think they cut down trees so they can build dams, but in reality it’s because their teeth never stop growing….

Which word from this excerpt most reveals the tone?

panicky

His tuxedo was over the chair he used to sit on when he tied his shoes, and I thought, Weird. Why wasn’t it hung up with his suits? Had he come from a fancy party the night before he died? But then why would he have taken off his tuxedo without hanging it up? Maybe it needed to be cleaned? But I didn’t remember a fancy party. I remembered him tucking me in….

How does the narration affect the story in this excerpt?

Oskar’s attempts to recall the events build suspense.

It took me nine hours to make, and I had thought about giving it to Sonny, the homeless person who I sometimes see standing outside the Alliance Française, because he puts me in heavy boots, or maybe to Lindy, the neat old woman who volunteers to give tours at the Museum of Natural History, so I could be something special to her, or even just to someone in a wheelchair. But instead I gave it to Mom. She said it was the best gift she’d ever received.

Which word from this excerpt most reveals the tone?

heavy, because the narrator’s list of ideas is bizarre and a bit outrageous

"I didn’t do it!" I hollered, but they didn’t even hear me, because they were playing music too loud and cracking up too much. I zipped myself all the way into the sleeping bag of myself, not because I was hurt, and not because I had broken something, but because they were cracking up. Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I gave myself a bruise.

Which of these statements best describes the ambiguity in this excerpt?

The nature of the bruise is unclear.

Which line from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reveals a nostalgic tone?

We used to Greco-Roman wrestle on the floor in there, and tell hilarious jokes, and once we hung a pendulum from the ceiling and put a circle of dominoes on the floor to prove that the earth rotated.

Which line from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reveals a melancholy tone?

I wanted to tell her she shouldn’t be playing Scrabble yet. Or looking in the mirror. Or turning the stereo any louder than what you needed just to hear it. It wasn’t fair to Dad, and it wasn’t fair to me.

There was a lot of stuff that made me panicky, like suspension bridges, germs, airplanes, fireworks… A lot of the time I’d get that feeling like I was in the middle of a huge black ocean, or in deep space, but not in the fascinating way.

How does the narration affect Oskar’s credibility in this excerpt?

His attempt at self-reflection makes him seem honest.

The next morning I told Mom that I couldn’t go to school, because I was too sick. It was the first lie that I had to tell. She put her hand on my forehead and said, "You do feel a bit hot." I said, "I took my temperature and it’s one hundred point seven degrees." That was the second lie. She turned around and asked me to zip up the back of her dress which she could have done herself, but she knew that I loved to do it.

What assumption does the narrator make in this excerpt?

that his mom will trust him

What was a pretty blue vase doing way up there? I couldn’t reach it, obviously, so I moved over the chair with the tuxedo still on it, and then I went to my room to get the Collected Shakespeare set that Grandma bought for me when she found out that I was going to be Yorick, and I brought those over, four tragedies at a time, until I had a stack that was tall enough.

How does the narration shape Oskar’s characterization in this excerpt?

His literary references render him mature for his age.

Which line from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reveals a sentimental tone?

I couldn’t sleep, not after hours, and it made my boots lighter to be around his things, and to touch stuff that he had touched, and to make the hangers hang a little straighter, even though I knew it didn’t matter.

In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place…. And when something really terrible happened—like a nuclear bomb, or at least a biological weapons attack—an extremely loud siren would go off, telling everyone to get to Central Park to put sandbags around the reservoir.

What assumption does the narrator make in this excerpt?

that many people express their grief through tears

I wanted to tell her she shouldn’t be playing Scrabble yet. Or looking in the mirror. Or turning the stereo any louder than what you needed just to hear it.

What assumption does the narrator make in this excerpt?

that his mother’s activities suggest an end to her grief

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