Study Guide

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Chapter 17

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Chapter 17

Beautiful and True

  • Oskar kind of bonds with Ron over dinner when he finds out that Ron's wife and daughter died in a car accident.
  • It turns out that Ron and Mom met in a grief support group, a group Oskar never even knew she went to.
  • Later that night, Oskar and the renter, along with Gerald the limo driver, head to the cemetery to dig up Dad's grave.
  • Gerald helps, because the young kid and the old man aren't really getting anywhere.
  • Oskar opens the coffin and the renter fills it with his letters.
  • At this point, Oskar kind of addresses us directly and says that he hadn't yet figured out that was his Grandpa, but he must have known on some level, right?
  • Back at home, at 4:12 in the morning, Mom's on the couch, but she doesn't ask where Oskar's been.
  • He asks if she's going to tuck him in, but she says she's going to stay in the living room.
  • Oskar can't get to sleep, so he runs to Mom on the couch and starts crying.
  • He promises he'll get better soon, that he'll be try to be normal and happy.
  • Mom tells him that his Dad would have been very proud of him.
  • She then confesses that she talked to Dad on the day he died. He lied to her, and told her he was safe, so that she wouldn't worry. Oskar cries and Mom carries him to bed.
  • He tells her it's okay for her to fall in love again, but she says she never will.
  • She tells Oskar she loves him and goes back into the living room.
  • Oskar hears her crying through the wall.
  • He pulls out his Stuff That Happened to Me binder and finds the photos he printed of the man falling from the building. The man he thinks might be his Dad.
  • He reverses the pages and makes a little flipbook, so it looks like the man is falling up.
  • What if time worked like that, Oskar wonders. If he could reverse time back back back to the day Dad told him the Sixth Borough story, beginning with "I love you" and ending with "Once upon a time" (17.161).
  • Then his family would have been safe.
  • The book ends in a little flipbook of images, of the man falling up up up and off the page.
  • The End.