Comparing Jonathan Foers novel and Stephen Daldrys Film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Education

Document 1

Fore’s novel focuses on Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old who lost his father during the 9/11 attacks. One year after the death of his father, Oskar found a key that he had been searching for in the possessions of his late father. Surprisingly, the key was kept in a little envelope that was labeled "Black". Oskar is more than convinced that the key is of great significance to his father, and is thus strongminded to discover what the key actually opens. He embarks on a long search spanning for eight months to find the lock that the key was intended to open. Stephen Daldry's film which was produced in 2012, is equally ambitious and brave. With its sole focus being the September 11 incidences, the film bravely presents the raw emotion associated with the tragic event.

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Oskar Schell is the central character of both the novel and its adaptation. In the novel, Oskar is extremely intelligent for a nine-year-old who is susceptible to eccentricities and plunges into an extremely deep depression upon the death of his father in the World Trade Center. But in the film, he is a 12-year old. In the book, he is portrayed as a nine-year-old while in the movie, Oskar is 12-year old. There are other numerous notable differences between the book and the film. The first one is Oskar’s reaction after learning the story behind the key. In the book, Oskar leaves after having a meeting with William Black and discovering the tale of the key whereas, in the film, he screams and runs away.

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The second notable difference is how Thomas interacts with his wife. In the film, Bullock tells his son Oskar about contacting the Blacks and they actually discuss some of them. In the book, Oskar informs his mother about how he wished that she had died instead of his father. ("If I could have chosen, I would have chosen you! [He wished she had] slammed the door, but she [did not]”) (Foer, 171). She is devastated and silently walks away contrary to Oskar’s expectations. In the film, the two argue when Oskar tells him about this. Lastly, in Foer’s novel, Oskar’s grandma gives him a camera while in the film, his father does so. When it comes to the ending, Foer’s novel has a heartbreaking and disappointing ending.

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After several months of tirelessly finding out the owner of the key and which lock it could open, Oskar discovers that it has no relation to his late father (Foer, 323). It is devastating to learn that the young boy’s efforts were futile. On the other hand, the film enables the audience to understand that the experience was more about the actual journey rather than the end result. The book lacks an uplifting end and this is why the movie beautifully looks at mysteries of life, relationships, and family. On the contrary, the book depicts emotions depressingly most of the time. Overall, the film ends sentimentally as compared to the book. The filmmakers made the made the additions, substitutions, and subtractions to fully develop Oskar and his search for the key.

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