In Jonathan Safan Foer's poignant novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the reader is introduced to Oskar Schnell, a nine-year-old who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks. Prior to the attacks, Oskar receives a phone call from his father, but he does not answer it. Oskar and the reader are left with the question why. Why does Oskar not answer the phone?
Oskar is a dynamic character who grows and changes over the course of the story. His growth takes the form of a quest, as he journeys through the city to unlock the mystery of the key he found in a vase belonging to his father. During his adventures, he begins to unlock part of his nature as well. He starts to to feel emotions that he had previously not felt. Although he is unaware, the reader realizes that Oskar is searching for closure and understanding of his father's death as much as he is searching for an answer to the key's purpose.
But prior to this adventure, Oskar is presented as a logical and creative child: a child who is inwardly focused on his own thoughts and processes, a child focused on his inventions and ideas. His mind is wrapped up in thought and not in emotion. Before his father's death, Oskar was a child who thought of his own wants and needs, similar to most children—and like most children, he had no concrete understanding that life could end so abruptly. He did not answer his father's call because he was wrapped up in his own imagination and ideas.