Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Foer, J. S. 2006. Extremely loud and incredibly close. Mariner Books: NY.

ISBN 978-0-618-71165-9


Oskar Schell is a precocious nine year old living in New York City with his mother and father. He and his father share a love for elaborate scavenger hunts, and his father created hunts that lead Oskar on many adventures. When Oskar’s father is killed in the attacks on the Twin Towers, Oskar is devastated. He finds one final clue that his father left for him, a key. Knowing that it must unlock something important, this clue leads him on a long adventure across the five boroughs of New York, bringing him in touch with many characters, always searching for what his father left behind for him.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 940L

ATOS Book Level: 4.7

Interest Level:   Upper Grades (UG 9-12)

Qualitative Summary:

The structure of this book is very complex, switching between narrators and narratives, and skipping in between different chronologies. This is a trademark of Johnathan Safran Foer’s books which are often considered to be art pieces as well as fiction. There are also complex stylistic choices such as text that gets smaller and runs together, as well as various illustrations and visiual representations of symbols in the book. It is a complex read that I think would be best suited for older high school level.

Curriculum ties:

US History could use this book to illustrate 9/11 narratives. English could use this as examples of symbolism and poetic language, as well as the experimentation with the novel form and language, similar to books like A Clockwork Orange.


Objective 1.2.1: The student will determine the contributions of literary elements in classical and contemporary literary texts. ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H
Grades 9 and 10
The student will
 Determine the significance of the following as each contributes to the meaning of a text: 
o plot sequence of events (including foreshadowing and flashback), cause-and-effect relationships, and events 
that are exposition, climax or turning point, resolution* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o characters’ defining traits, motivations, and developments throughout the text* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o details that provide clues to the setting, the mood created by the setting, and the role the setting plays in the text* ECLG 1.2.1
o conflicts that motivate characters and those that serve to advance the plot* ECLG 1.2.1
o the perspective of the author or speaker as well as the effects of first or third person narration and multiple narrators within and across text(s)* ECLG 1.2.1
o narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, asides, soliloquies, and character foils ADP H4 o various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism
 Identify the specific structural elements of particular literary forms (e.g., short story, novel, drama, poetry, essay, biography, autobiography, journalistic writing, film) ECLG 1.1.5, ADP H3 
Grades 11 and 12
The student will
 Analyze characters’ motivations, actions, and development as they relate to the experiences, emotions, moral dilemmas and ambiguities in a work of literature ADP H8 
 Analyze how voice, persona, and the choice of narrator affect the characterization, mood, tone, plot and credibility of a text 
 Analyze the contribution of dramatic monologue, chorus, asides, soliloquies, and character foils to the development of character, plot, and theme ADP H6 

 Analyze the characteristics of particular literary subgenres (e.g., satire, farce, parody, allegory, pastoral, epic, elegy, ode) as they relate to theme and purpose ADP H3

Author website: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/jonathan-safran-foer/