Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Grandma Character Analysis

Grandma raised Dad as a single mother, since Grandpa left her before Dad was born. Grandma has a special bond and very loving relationship with Oskar. She is always available on the walkie-talkie whenever he wants to speak with her, even when it’s the middle of the night. Oskar trusts that his Grandma will always be there for him, and vice versa: when he was little, Oskar hid from Grandma, which freaked her out, and ever since, they have developed a ritual of responding “I’m OK” when the other person says his or her name—it’s like their own private game of Marco-Polo. But even though Oskar is very close with Grandma, he actually doesn’t know many details about her personal life; for example, when the renter comes to live with her, Oskar isn’t allowed to meet him or learn that he’s his Grandpa. Grandma is also a narrator of the novel. All of her chapters are entitled “My Feelings,” and they’re all segments of a letter that she’s writing to Oskar from the airport. The chapters don’t reveal why Grandma’s at the airport until the end of the novel, when the reader learns that she’s followed Grandpa there and has convinced him to live with her there, in a place where everyone else is either coming or going, but they are the only ones staying. In the letter, Grandma reveals many more details her life than she’d ever told Oskar in person. Grandma often describes the same events that Grandpa narrates, but she provides a different version. For example, Grandpa thinks that Grandma never realized that the whole biography she typed of her life on the typewriter is entirely blank: he thinks that the typewriter ribbon hadn’t been replaced, but her eyes are so bad that she’d never noticed. Grandma, however, says that she’s perfectly aware that the pages are blank, since she only typed spaces. Grandma tells Oskar that it’s always necessary to tell people that you love them, since you never know what will be your last chance to do so.

Grandma Quotes in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close quotes below are all either spoken by Grandma or refer to Grandma. 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.
Chapter 6 Quotes

We took the blueprint of our apartment from the hallway closet and taped it to the inside of the front door, with an orange and a green marker we separated Something from Nothing. “This is Something,” we decided. “This is Nothing.” “Something.” “Nothing.” “Something.” “Nothing.” “Nothing.” “Nothing.” Everything was forever fixed, there would only be peace and happiness, it wasn’t until last night, our last night together, that the inevitable question finally arose, I told her, “Something,” by covering her face with my hands and then lifting them like a marriage veil. “We must be.” But I knew, in the most protected part of my heart, the truth.

Related Characters: Grandpa (speaker), Grandma (speaker)
Related Symbols: Letters, Notes, and Notebooks
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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I have so much to tell you, the problem isn’t that I’m running out of time, I’m running out of room, this book is filling up, there couldn’t be enough pages, I looked around the apartment this morning for one last time and there was writing everywhere, filling the walls and mirrors, I’d rolled up the rugs so I could write on the floor, I’d written on the walls and around the bottles of wine we were given but never drank, I wear only short sleeves, even when it’s cold, because my arms are books, too. But there’s too much to express. I’m sorry.

Related Characters: Grandpa (speaker), Grandma
Related Symbols: Letters, Notes, and Notebooks
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 8 Quotes

He took a picture of every doorknob in the apartment. Every one. As if the world and its future depended on each doorknob. As if we would be thinking about doorknobs should we ever actually need to use the pictures of them.

Related Characters: Grandma (speaker), Grandpa
Related Symbols: Doorknobs
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

I went to the guest room and pretended to write. I hit the space bar again and again and again. My life story was spaces.

Related Characters: Grandma (speaker)
Related Symbols: Letters, Notes, and Notebooks
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 12 Quotes

I lowered the volume until it was silent.
The same pictures over and over.
Planes going into buildings.
Bodies falling.

Related Characters: Grandma (speaker)
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

Chapter 16 Quotes

Here is the point of everything I have been trying to tell you, Oskar.
It’s always necessary.
I love you,
Grandma

Related Characters: Grandma (speaker), Oskar Schell
Related Symbols: Letters, Notes, and Notebooks
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Grandma Character Timeline in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The timeline below shows where the character Grandma 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
...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 quieter than... (full context)
Chapter 2, “Why I’m Not Where You Are (5/21/63)”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
The woman (Grandma) asks the writer of the letter (Grandpa) why he doesn’t speak, and the narrator writes,... (full context)
Chapter 3, “Googolplex”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar’s Grandma lives in the building just across from him, so he can see it through the... (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
Oskar and Grandma talk for a bit over the walkie-talkies, as they do very often. Oskar tells Grandma... (full context)
Chapter 4, “My Feelings”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...September 2003” and addressed “Dear Oskar.” The writer of the letter is an old woman (Grandma), writing from the airport and talking about her childhood. She writes that as a child,... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
The writer (Grandma) says that she asks everyone she knows to write her a letter: her father, an... (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
Seven years later, when she had only been in America for two months, Grandma meets a man who used to date her sister, Anna; she had caught the two... (full context)
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Grandma goes to Grandpa’s apartment every day so that he can sculpt her. The apartment is... (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
One day, they end up making love, and Grandma looks at the unfinished sculpture of her sister. After they make love, they go to... (full context)
Chapter 5, “The Only Animal”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar goes over to Grandma’s apartment when he gets home. She’s just been crying. She tells Oskar she was talking... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Oskar remembers that Grandma used to take care of him when he was a baby. Once, he made her... (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
...that they had had to monitor Oskar as a baby. Oskar gave one to his Grandma, and now they talk on them all the time; in fact, she’s usually waiting on... (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
Oskar remembers how his Grandma knits him white clothes and finds special things for him. She gave Oskar a stamp... (full context)
Chapter 6, “Why I’m Not Where You Are (5/21/63)”
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
...with a long, stream-of-consciousness description of the many rules that the writer and his wife (Grandma) follow in their marriage, from never talking about the past to changing the sheets every... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Grandpa writes that he thought he and Grandma could have had a beautiful reunion, although they had hardly known each other in Dresden,... (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
...you know what time it is?—and the narration returns to the present. He thinks about Grandma at home, writing her whole life story on a typewriter. She protests that her eyes... (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
One spring, Grandma pulls him into the guest room and shows him a stack of paper, which she... (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
...writes that he’s sorry for everything—sorry for the marriage, sorry for being about to leave Grandma, sorry about Anna, sorry he’ll never get to see his son. In the chapter, there... (full context)
Chapter 7, Heavier Boots
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...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 by laughing... (full context)
Chapter 8, “My Feelings”
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
The narrator of this chapter is Grandma, writing a letter to Oskar from the airport (continued from the previous “My Feelings” chapter,... (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
Grandma discusses the beginning of her marriage with Grandpa. Grandpa took pictures of every detail in... (full context)
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
In their first Halloween in the apartment, Grandma didn’t understand what she was supposed to do when a child dressed up as a... (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
Grandma says that when she was in the guest room supposedly typing her life story, she... (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
Grandma feels a hole inside her and realizes that she needs a child. She writes in... (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
Grandma follows Grandpa to the airport, but he tells her that she has to go home.... (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
In the airport, talking to Grandpa, Grandma has several memories of her family as she is trying to convince Grandpa to stay.... (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
Grandpa keeps pointing at “Broken and confused” and “Nothing” in the daybook and Grandma points at “Don’t cry” and “Something.” Finally, she convinces him to return home. They pawn... (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
Grandma feels the baby (that is, Dad) kick in her belly, and she releases all the... (full context)
Chapter 10, “Why I’m Not Where You Are (4/12/78)”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Trauma and Guilt Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Grandpa is writing to his son from the spot where Anna and Grandma’s father’s shed used to stand. Grandpa has written a letter to his son every day,... (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
Grandma narrates this chapter, and she’s writing to Oskar. She describes where she was when the... (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
Oskar’s Mom calls, asking if Grandma has heard from Dad; neither of them has. Mom tells Grandma that she loves her.... (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
...also says no when Mom asks if there had been any messages on the phone. Grandma keeps knitting the scarf longer and longer all afternoon. Mom makes posters with Dad’s face... (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 but puts it... (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
Grandma writes about Dad’s funeral sometime later, in which they buried Dad’s empty coffin. That night,... (full context)
Chapter 13, “Alive and Alone”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...Oskar that he is finished, which makes Oskar feel incredibly lonely. Oskar goes up to Grandma’s apartment, but Grandma isn’t there. It’s the first time that Oskar has been in Grandma’s... (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
Grandpa writes Oskar a note asking Oskar not to tell Grandma that they’d met. Grandpa also writes that if Oskar ever needs him, he should throw... (full context)
Chapter 14, “Why I’m Not Where You Are (9/11/03)”
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
...in New York, a few days after September 11, 2001. Grandpa gives a note to Grandma’s doorman, and she stands with her palms against the window that night. He continues to... (full context)
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
Grandpa calls Grandma on a pay phone, and when she answers, he tries to communicate with her by... (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
Grandma lets Grandpa live in the guest room. He finds his daybooks from before he 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
...pages in the book for Grandpa to tell the whole story, he writes. Grandpa asks Grandma if he can meet Oskar, but she says no; however, she shows him how he... (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
One day, Grandma tells Grandpa about Dad—who is, she says, “Not our son, my son.” Grandma gave Dad... (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
...in the story when Oskar meets Grandpa, only knowing him as “the renter.” That night, Grandma and Grandpa make love. Later, Oskar throws pebbles at the window. Grandpa goes outside, and... (full context)
Chapter 16, “My Feelings”
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
Grandma, the narrator, describes the day when Grandpa comes in in the middle of the night... (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
Grandma remembers the day her father died, trapped under the ceiling, but she can’t remember his... (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
Grandma puts the typewriter and paper into a suitcase. She writes a note, tapes it to... (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
Grandpa tells Grandma that Anna had been pregnant, but Grandma knew the whole time. Grandpa also 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
Everyone around them in the airport is coming or going. Grandma suggests that they stay in the airport forever: “Not coming or going. Not something or... (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
Grandma writes that she is typing this very letter sitting across from Grandpa at a table... (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
Grandma describes the last night that she spent with Anna. She regrets never telling Anna how... (full context)