Study Guide

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Chapter 5

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Chapter 5

The Only Animal

  • Oskar decides that he'll meet all the Blacks alphabetically, "from Aaron to Zyna" (5.4).
  • It takes him three hours and forty-one minutes to walk to Queens, where Aaron Black lives, because he's afraid of public transportation. (He's going to have a heck of time getting to Azkaban to meet Sirius Black…)
  • He makes it to Queens and rings the bell for A. Black's apartment.
  • Oskar asks if the man knows Thomas Schell, and the man says "no" and gets him off the buzzer as quickly as possible.
  • This upsets Oskar, and he cries for a bit, then rings the buzzer again.
  • He tells Aaron Black that his Dad is dead and he wants to find where his key goes.
  • Unfortunately, he can't show him the key. Aaron can't come down the stairs (he's hooked up to machines) and Oskar's too scared to go upstairs that high.
  • Oskar goes to Abby Black's apartment, which is in the narrowest house in New York, according to a plaque on the door. (Maybe the guy from Up used to live there…)
  • Abby's very beautiful and very sad. She tells Oskar that she's in the middle of something, but he lies to her, saying he's diabetic and needs sugar.
  • She lets him in, and he makes a mental note to donate his allowance to diabetes research.
  • In her apartment, Oskar looks at all the artwork in her apartment, like the one of the elephant that seems to be crying blood.
  • They talk about elephants. Abby puts out a bowl of strawberries and begins to cry. Her husband is yelling, but she ignores him.
  • She says that she doesn't know Thomas Schell, nor does she know what the key goes to.
  • He invites her to come to his fall play, Hamlet, and asks to kiss her. (She says no.)
  • Before he leaves, Oskar takes her picture (we get to see it, and she's facing away from the camera) and he gives her his business card.
  • He goes to his Grandma's apartment. She's been crying, and she says that she was talking to the renter.
  • He gives us some quick background on Grandma, like the time he made her panic by hiding from her, how he found the two-way radios in his Dad's stuff, and how she gave him a stamp collection, but he got mad because she tossed out the plate block.
  • That night, Oskar can't sleep, so he goes into his Mom's room at 2 in the morning, and he asks her what Dad's storage facility was called, hoping it has the word "black" in it.
  • It doesn't. Sad day.