Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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Mom Character Analysis

Oskar’s Mom, a lawyer, has a different type of relationship with Oskar than he had had with his Dad: Oskar’s Dad sent him around the city on expeditions, and they had lots of special rituals with each other, but, in contrast, Oskar and his Mom don’t really have their own secret codes and inside jokes. Mom tries to fill some of the void that Dad left—she offers to check the New York Times for typos with Oskar, just like he and Dad used to do—but it’s not the same. Oskar is also mad at Mom because she has started seeing a new boyfriend, Ron; Oskar thinks that she’s not properly grieving. For most of the novel, Mom seems as though she’s an absentee parent: she never asks Oskar where he’s going, and never acts concerned when he’s out for hours and hours at a time by himself. Even Oskar wonders at her apparent lack of concern about his whereabouts—and though it’s helpful in terms of his quest, he seems a little disappointed that she doesn’t seem to care where he is. Unbeknownst to Oskar, his Mom knows about his whole journey to find the key from nearly the very beginning of his quest, and she’s been one step ahead of him the entire time. She called all the Blacks ahead of time to let them know that Oskar was coming, which is why so many of them seemed so suspiciously prepared to see him. Mom also makes sure that Oskar goes to therapy and convinces Dr. Fein not to hospitalize him, but rather to allow him to work through his grief in his own way. Even though Mom seems like she’s removed and out of touch for most of the novel, it turns out that Mom does indeed loves Oskar deeply and that she has been very present in his life the entire time—she’s just been behind the scenes, watching out for him. Mom loves Oskar so much that she can let him figure out life his own way, without her interference.

Mom Quotes in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close quotes below are all either spoken by Mom or refer to Mom. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Mariner Books edition of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close published in 2006.
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Mom Character Timeline in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The timeline below shows where the character Mom appears in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1, “What The?”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...Gerald, the limousine driver, telling nerdy puns and jokes that fail to crack Gerald’s smile. Mom and Grandma are in the limo with Oskar as well, though they are being much... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Mom asks Oskar why Oskar has given a spare set of keys to the mailwoman; though... (full context)
Chapter 3, “Googolplex”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar is the narrator of this chapter. He describes the bracelet he made for Mom after Dad’s death, in which he converted Dad’s last voice message into Morse code and... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
The next day, Oskar fakes being sick again to his Mom so that he can skip school. They chat and Mom tells him that he sounds... (full context)
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...216 different addresses. He writes a letter to his French teacher, pretending to be from Mom, to say that Oskar will no longer be going to French lessons, although the teacher... (full context)
Chapter 5, “The Only Animal”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
After Dad died, Oskar explains to the reader, Oskar and his Mom went to Oskar’s Dad’s storage facility, where Oskar found the old walkie-talkies that they had... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...can’t stop thinking about his Dad’s storage facility. He can’t sleep, so he goes to Mom’s room and watches her sleep. He wakes her up and asks what the storage facility... (full context)
Chapter 7, Heavier Boots
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...Blacks whom he’s met in the previous weeks are in the audience for opening night; Mom and Grandma come, too. For the following performances, only Grandma comes, and she embarrasses Oskar... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
That night, Oskar and his Mom fight as Oskar’s Mom is tucking him into bed. Mom tells him that Dad’s spirit... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar and Mom start to make up, but the fight escalates when Oskar says that she can’t miss... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar tries to take it back, but Mom is hurt. Eventually, he falls asleep on the floor, and when he wakes up, Mom... (full context)
Chapter 12, “My Feelings”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar’s Mom calls, asking if Grandma has heard from Dad; neither of them has. Mom tells Grandma... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Mom comes home and asks if Oskar’s Dad had called. Oskar says no, and also says... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
While Mom is gone, Grandma waits with Oskar. When Oskar falls asleep, Grandma turns on the television... (full context)
Chapter 15, “A Simple Solution to an Impossible Problem”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar tells Mom that he’s going out, and Mom doesn’t protest, even when Oskar says he’ll be out... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...on the answering machine had cut off in the middle, and Abby says that Oskar’s Mom picked up, and she told her the whole story: about Oskar coming to visit, about... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...work and that Dad was planning to give the vase as an anniversary gift to Mom. Oskar wishes that William could remember every tiny detail about Dad. William tried for a... (full context)
Chapter 17, “Beautiful and True”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
During dinner with Mom and Ron, Oskar finds out that Ron’s wife and daughter had died in a car... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
It’s 4:12 AM when Oskar returns home. Mom is on the sofa, awake, but doesn’t ask Oskar where he’s been. Oskar can’t sleep.... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Mom says that Dad had called her from the World Trade Center on the day that... (full context)