I feel like it's been a while since I led a discussion that I don't know where to begin.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I jotted down some notes while in class today, so I'll start off the discussion with that.
sorry if this is random
We have Oskar, the 9 year old with a hyperactive mind, in search of the lock that will open with the key that hangs around his neck and close to his heart.
I don't know if anyone else (I know that Mary has) has read anything else by Jonathan Safran Foer. I found that ELaIC was a predictable JSF novel, yet at the same time, quite unpredictable.
Knowing that the story revolved around 9/11, I thought I knew what to expect. Instead, the story wasn't so much about what happened on 9/11, but a tragedy that somehow connects people of different generations together, past, present, and future as well.
What did you guys think of the plot? What kind of role or impact does the 9/11 historical precedent play here?
One of my favorite things about JSF is his storytelling technique. He travels through the past and the present, and the future (which seems like the present) in a way that other writers don't. Actually, I think it reminds me a little of Middlesex...but not much. I really like the tools that he uses for telling the story, which is usually literature or letters. We get to read letters that were written to other characters in the story (and never read) that reveal the story, but without giving too much away. And he always makes sure to come back to a place, time, and event that he already revealed just so that we can remake that connection--sometimes by retelling the same exact moment with the same character twice or with another character so that we may understand the dimensionality of the moment. With ELaIC, JSF stepped it up a notch by giving us photographic illustrations, some which seemed totally random, and some that were literal--some very moving as well...after much staring and flipping the pages like a flip-book.
For the beginning of this discussion,
my questions are simple:
Did you like the story?
Did you like the characters?
Did you like the way the novel was written?
What about some of the concepts?
I absolutely love the story.
I really liked the characters a lot: mostly the grandfater, in the least, Oskar's mother.
The way the story is written is what draws me into it repeatedly.
I found the grandfather's loss of words and speech the most beautiful and touching concept.
I felt that Thomas, the grandfather, was the most beautiful character of the novel. He really moved me. His character was melancholic, helpless, yet unknowingly helpful to his wife, thoughtful and selfish, ... he was full of contradictions. On the other hand, his wife (i can't remember her name right now), was half oppposite. She was selfless. It was bittersweet how these two characters seemed to be perfect to each other. They were both trying to remember and forget the people they once shared, especially Anna.
Oskar seemed to me like your typical over-average 9 year old. He's a very smart kid, probably nerdy, with a hyperactive mind--which I think is a result of his father dying the way he died, the paranoia that accompanied such a tragic death, and his finding the key. He was ambitious in his plans to find that lock. We were witness to how he broke out of his ritual self-restrictions (not riding the subway, crossing bridges, talking to strangers, lying, ect.). We also witness the pain and longingness that a child experiences after the death of a parent. I was really shocked to know that he bruised himself.
As for Oskar's mother, at first, I felt like she didn't try hard enough to comfort Oskar. She was shady. Then at the end, she becomes the mother that needed to be there for Oskar all long. She knew of Oskar's whereabouts, his crazy plan for finding the lock. She basically set him up in a good way.
There's more to say, but I think this will be it for now.