Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
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by Jonathan Safran Foer
Guiding questions for student reading:
1. What is the effect of having multiple narrators?
2. What function do keys have in the novel?
3. Why is Stephen Hawking Oskar’s idol? What is significant about Hawking’s letters?
4. Why doesn’t Oskar’s grandfather speak?
5. How, if at all, does Oskar’s mother change during the novel?
6. What is the effect of the visual images Foer includes in the structure of the novel?
7. Why does Foer also include the attacks on Dresden?
Why summer reading?
Students, please use these questions as a guide for your annotation of the summer reading.
Your teachers encourage the practice of annotation in all your assigned reading at Stevenson, as a way to prepare for classroom activities and assessments and to reinforce the habit of active reading.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a humorous and heartbreaking story told by a precocious and eccentric young boy, Oskar, whose father died in the 9/11 attacks. Early in the novel, Oskar finds a mysterious key, and he spends most of the novel trying to find the lock it belongs to. Along the way, we watch Oskar coming to grips with the complexity, cruelty and beauty of the world. The novel also features separate narratives by Oskar’s grandparents who survived a bombing of their own during World War II. With pictures and letters, the novel has a non-traditional structure that will keep readers on their toes. Students who choose this novel will enjoy a unique, complicated, challenging, and entertaining book. The reader will confront multiple perspectives as Oskar’s narrative seeks to come to terms with the complexity of life.
What is the purpose of the summer reading assignment?
The primary purpose of summer reading at the senior year is to give students the kind of positive reading experience that continues to encourage young people to become life-long readers. Students will have a choice of three books, increasing their educational autonomy and providing the opportunity to find and read books that are appealing to their interests. While all the books are at appropriate reading levels for entering seniors, each student should be able to find one that meets his/her specific reading needs. Students should read these books toward the end of the summer so the themes, characters and plots are fresh in their minds upon returning to school.
What can you expect in your English class at the beginning of the school year?
Students should expect to be assessed on their reading habits and their ability to recognize important details and ideas. The goals of this assessment are to affirm that the student read the text and to provide the teacher some baseline data on the students understanding of some basic plot and thematic ideas from the text. This assessment will take place on the second day of the school year.