"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Vocabulary from Part 1

March 22, 2013
Learn the words Jonathan Safran Foer's narrator loves in this post-9/11 coming of age novel, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Make sure to check out all our related lists: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad’s voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of “Yellow Submarine,” which is a song by the Beatles, who I love, because entomology is one of my raisons d'etre, which is a French expression that I know.
I told him, “I’m a pacifist,” and since most people my age don’t know what that means, I turned around and told the others, “I don’t think it’s right to destroy people’s privates."
Even though I’m not anymore, I used to be an atheist, which means I didn’t believe in things that couldn’t be observed.
I remember thinking that even if I were suffering hypothermia, I would never, ever put on those mittens.
“Now that I’m thinking about it,” I told Gerald, “they could make an incredibly long limousine that had its back seat at your mom’s VJ and its front seat at your mausoleum, and it would be as long as your life.”
A great game that Dad and I would sometimes play on Sundays was Reconnaissance Expedition.
I even made kite-fliers reel in their kites so I could examine them, although I knew it was improbable.
He read to the hundreds of gathered press from a makeshift media center off the back of the family home
“He was always very definitive.”
I had the revelation that I could connect the dots to make “cyborg,” and “platypus,” and “boobs,” and even “Oskar,” if you were extremely Chinese.
Can I please be your protege?
“My question was rhetorical.”
“And” was the next word I lost, probably because it was so close to her name, what a simple word to say, what a profound word to lose, I had to say “ampersand,” which sounded ridiculous, but there it is, “I’d like a coffee ampersand something sweet,” nobody would choose to be like that.
Or ever, if I’m being frank.
We used to Greco-Roman wrestle on the floor in there, and tell hilarious jokes, and once we hung a pendulum from the ceiling and put a circle of dominoes on the floor to prove that the earth rotated.
I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?”
I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?”
"It’s just one of those psychological things, I guess.”
raison d'etre
That night when I decided that finding the lock was my ultimate raison d'etre—the raison that was the master over all other raisons—I really needed to hear him.
“You were using your accusatory tone.”

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