Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Telephones Symbol Icon
Telephones and answering machines are a crucial form of both communication and miscommunication in the novel: though people use the telephone to connect and to relay information, often, the telephone can become a source of missed connections. Oskar hides the telephone on which Dad had left the five voice messages from September 11, 2001. Those five messages form the final link that Oskar has to his Dad’s voice. Oskar confesses that he was in the apartment when the phone rang the fifth time, and although he listened to the machine record the message, he was too afraid to pick up the phone. When Grandpa returns to America just before September 11, he cannot speak, but nevertheless calls Grandma; he tries to press the numbers on the telephone to communicate in some combination of Morse code and alphabetic transcription, but all that Grandma can hear is beeps, and on the page is a seemingly random block of numbers. Abby Black left Oskar a message that would have allowed Oskar to finish his expedition eight months before he does, but Oskar didn’t listen to the message until eight months after she left it. However, telephones also work to connect people. Mom made the connection with Abby and found out about Oskar’s whole quest because she picked up the phone halfway through Abby’s voicemail. Oskar’s missed connection allowed Mom to make a connection with Oskar’s expedition. Oskar and his grandmother speak via walkie-talkie, a rudimentary telephone. The lovers in the story of the Sixth Borough communicate through tin-can telephone for as long as possible, and the boy stores the girl’s voice in a tin can like an answering machine.

Telephones Quotes in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close quotes below all refer to the symbol of Telephones. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

There were four more messages from him: one at 9:12, one at 9:31, one at 9:46, and one at 10:04. I listened to them, and listened to them again, and then before I had time to figure out what to do, or even what to think or feel, the phone started ringing.
It was 10:26:47.
I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was him.

Related Characters: Oskar Schell (speaker), Dad
Related Symbols: Telephones
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

He needed me, and I couldn’t pick up. I just couldn’t pick up. I just couldn’t. Are you there? He asked eleven times. I know, because I’ve counted. It’s one more than I can count on my fingers….Sometimes I think he knew I was there. Maybe he kept saying it to give me time to get brave enough to pick it up.

Related Characters: Oskar Schell (speaker), Dad, William Black
Related Symbols: Telephones
Page Number: 301
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 labor

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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Telephones Symbol Timeline in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The timeline below shows where the symbol Telephones 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
...Oskar listened to the messages on that day—that is, September 11—and then, at 10:26:47, the phone began to ring; the caller ID said that it was his Dad. (full context)
Chapter 3, “Googolplex”
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 listens to Dad’s phone messages again. He keeps the phone inside his closet—he didn’t want his mother to find... (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
...from him, so he can see it through the window. He radios her on his walkie-talkie and asks why she’s awake at 4:12 AM. She says that the renter is running... (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 that he misses Dad. He asks her... (full context)
Chapter 5, “The Only Animal”
Mortality and the Purpose of Life Theme Icon
Puzzles and Cleverness Theme Icon
Superstition and Ritual Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Oskar puts together a field kit, including a flash light, ChapStick, his cell phone, iodine pills, and the script of Hamlet. It takes Oskar three hours and forty-one minutes... (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 and his Mom went to Oskar’s Dad’s storage facility, where Oskar found the old walkie-talkies that they had had to monitor Oskar as a baby. Oskar gave one to his... (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
...and 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... (full context)
Chapter 13, “Alive and Alone”
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, surprising himself, runs home and gets the phone with Dad’s messages on it. Oskar plays them for Grandpa. Grandpa suggests (by writing) that... (full context)
Chapter 14, “Why I’m Not Where You Are (9/11/03)”
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 pressing the numbers on... (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
...Oskar and Mr. Black leave; the woman tells him that she’s just gotten off the phone with Oskar’s mother and wonders why Grandpa doesn’t know about the key. (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
When Oskar comes home that night, he looks at the telephone (the new one, not the old one with his Dad’s messages on it). He hasn’t... (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
...asks William if he forgives him for not being able to tell anyone about the phone call, and William says that he does. Oskar gives him the key. (full context)