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.
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”