Study Guide

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Chapter 1

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Chapter 1

What The?

  • This chapter kind of bounces all over the place as the narrator introduces us to himself and to his world.
  • It begins with him dreaming up a bunch of wacky inventions. Here's a quick sample:
    • A teakettle that whistles melodies
    • Little microphones that broadcast everyone's heartbeat
    • A birdseed shirt
    • Training your own anus to talk (Who's narrating this book? Ace Ventura?)
  • There's also some ruminating about jujitsu class and death. Lots and lots of death.
  • Our narrator tells us about his first time in a limousine: with his mother, grandmother, and Gerald the limo driver.
  • They're heading to Oskar's dad's funeral. Kind of. "It's not like we were actually burying him anyway" (1.9).
  • Mom's a little irritated that the narrator, her son, gave the mailwoman a key to their apartment, and the narrator wonders if she still loves him. "I've never loved you more," (1.16) she says.
  • The narrator alludes to the second time he was in a limo ("when the renter and I were on our way to dig up Dad's empty coffin" (1.19)) and then talks about a scavenger hunt through Central Park his Dad sent him on once.
  • He's not sure why his Dad sent him out digging. He says that the more he found, the less he understood.
  • From there, he tells us about all the letters he started sending after "the worst day" (1.33) (i.e. the day Dad died) to famous people, like Stephen Hawking, who replied with a form letter.
  • Oskar (that's our narrator, not the Grouch) tells us about the last story his Dad told him (a story of New York's sixth borough) and that the last time he heard his Dad's voice was on the answering machine.
  • The last time he called was 10:22:27.