Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Ruth Black Character Analysis

Ruth lives on top of the Empire State Building: she’s a tour guide for the observation deck, but she never leaves, preferring instead to sleep in the storage room. Mr. Black is smitten with Ruth, and wants to date her, but Ruth tells him that she will never leave the Empire State Building. Ruth’s husband used to beam up signals that Ruth could see from the observation deck. Ruth is the final Black on the expedition that Mr. Black meets—after this encounter, Mr. Black tells Oskar that he’s finished. Ruth’s choice to live on top of the Empire State Building is similar to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s decision to remain in the airport at the end of the novel.
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Ruth Black Character Timeline in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The timeline below shows where the character Ruth Black appears in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
Then, Oskar describes Ruth Black, whose address is the eighty-sixth floor of the Empire State Building. Oskar is very... (full context)
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 has no idea who Ruth might be, but he has a hunch when he sees an old woman holding 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
Mr. Black gets down on his knees and asks Ruth on a date. She says that she stays in the building always: she has lived... (full context)