Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

extremely loudI start with a little nine years old boy whose father dies in 9/11. 9/11 stands for the 11th of September when one of the scariest destruction ever happened. Four planes were hijacked to crash at selected buildings, resulting the death of about 3,000 people and 19 hijackers.

So imagine this. People went to work as usual, hoping that on that day, they might receive a promotion or a simple good day. Then, while they were happily working on the highest floor, suddenly they felt a loud crash below and there  was a lot of smoke because of fire. And the bad thing was, there was no escape. They eventually died of suffocation. They left behind a lovely family. A family that devastated and lost. A family that would never smile and say, “Mommy/Daddy, how are you? How’s your day? How’s your work today?”

The same thing happens to Oskar, the little boy in the story. Oskar has his father dies in 9/11 incident. What do you actually think of this very realistic setting? Does this story fall into nonfiction genre when you find out it takes in some place you know? It feels realistic to me. I feel as if my chest are banded. I feel the grief of many children whose parents died in 9/11 incident.

At the beginning of the story, Oskar finds this mysterious key in the vase, with the name Black printed there. He goes all over New York, trying to find where the key belongs to. It ends up to his disappointment and lies. He believes in telling the truth, so after lying each lie, he feels low inside because he knows that everybody trusts him. Along the story, I would love to tell Oskar that if I were him,  I would not do what he did. I would want to avoid the sadness  and bitterness that might pile up and expand. But I were not Oskar, so I think everyone has the right to grieve in their own ways.

Oskar has a big relationship with his mother, but a bigger relationship with  his father. When his father was alive, he had lots of fun memories with him. After the incident, Oskar has a closer bond with his mother. Eventually, he does not like it at all when his mother goes out dating with Ron. I think what printed inside Oskar’s mind is: ‘You are not my father and you will never be.’ But soon, Oskar comes to know that his mom needs someone to talk, to share her sadness and loneliness. He makes a conclusion, if his mother wants to remarry, he will let her be. His mother replies that she doesn’t want to marry someone else. I think Oskar and his mother are growing to have a larger understanding in their relationship.

Oskar has a really weird family history. He has a Grandpa, who does not speak. The last word  he speaks is ‘I’ and the first word that he loses is, ‘Anna’. Those chapters are funny, but it is also quite dramatic. Oskar’s grandmother writes everything about both of them  into the letter addressed to Oskar’s father. But I am not quite sure if Oskar read these letters yet.

Sadness, madness, grief, and disappointment drives Oskar digging up his father’s grave to know if his father’s body is inside the coffin. Although he has been told many times that his father’s  b0dy is destroyed (people believe that his spirit lies there), Oskar does not even care. At the end, he faces the one of the worst downfall ever: there is nothing inside the coffin. Oskar goes home with a sad heart. The key that is supposed to lead to his father ends in nonsuccess. But then, he makes up all the things with his mom, and he tries his best to understand the situation. For me, doing the best is what it counts.

This story is a heartbroken story. If you step into the shoes of Oskar, you would know. What would you do when your father is killed and you find a key that might lead to him? Are you going to run around New York, trying to find out where the lock leads to, exactly like Oskar does? How do you feel if you find out that the key is just a false alarm? Are you sad? Disappointed? Unhappy? Oskar is neither. I imagine he must be relieved. All his hard work and burden is final. Although he does not discover what he likes to know, he must be on peace. The key itself seems irrelevant with Oskar’s whole journey, but the journey itself is the most important.

The author, Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer was born in February 21, 1977. He won many prizes in literature, but he is not awarded with the Nobel Prize yet. He is American; therefore he must had been inspired to write Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close from the 9/11 sad incident.


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