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Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, is in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for several reasons. One reason is that his letters are the metaphorical window (or mirror) through which we see Oskar's perpetual feelings of disappointment and longing. These apply outright to Hawking but also apply symbolically to Oskar's father.Another reason is to provide an ironic counterbalance to that which is extremely loud and incredibly close. Hawking's work has to do with the cosmos, which is definitely something other than loud and close, and it has to do with quantum particles, which are also the opposite of loud and close.
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