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9/11 in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Foer Essay


Born in 1977, Jonathan Safran Foer is an American writer who received his education at Princeton University and tried out multiple jobs ranging from math tutor to morgue assistant (Gilman 200). He has also always exhibited a writing talent, which he applied to the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Gilman 200-201). First published in 2005, the novel can be regarded as an example of post-9/11 American writing that is strongly influenced by this collectively, nationally traumatic event (Bryan 275). It can be suggested that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close attempts to recognise the event and translate related experiences through the writing techniques available to modern authors.

However, at the time of the development of the novel, 9/11 was a particularly recent event (Gibbons 134). As suggested by the nine-year-old protagonist, such a tragedy (a traumatic loss, which, in the case of Oskar, is predominantly related to the death of his father at the World Trade Center) might make one “feel too much” (Foer 201). Consequently, one of the techniques that are used by the author is the employment of photography and other images, which, according to Sadokierski is rather unusual for novels (177). However, this approach is central to this novel because it is aimed at translating a potentially excessive amount of feeling, which may be too difficult to embody in the text (Frost 186; Gibbons 135; Sadokierski 196). Thus, the historical context of the novel defines its content and results in the incorporation of an unusual writing technique.

Works Cited

Bryan, Victoria Marie. “’What About a Teakettle?’: Anxiety, Mourning, and Burial in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close“. Studies in American Jewish Literature, vol 34, no. 2, 2015, pp. 274-289.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Frost, Laura. “Still Life.” Literature After 9/11, edited by Ann Keniston and Jeanne Follansbee Quinn, Routledge, 2013, pp. 180-206.

Gibbons, Alison. Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature. Routledge, 2012.

Gilman, Sander. Multiculturalism and the Jews. Taylor And Francis, 2013.

Sadokierski, Zoe. “Photo-graphic Devices in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Picturing the Language of Images, edited by Nancy Pedri and Laurence Petit, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, pp. 177-197.

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IvyPanda. "9/11 in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Foer." November 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/911-in-extremely-loud-and-incredibly-close-by-foer/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "9/11 in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Foer." November 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/911-in-extremely-loud-and-incredibly-close-by-foer/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '9/11 in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Foer'. 10 November.

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