“Keeping Pets and (Not) Eating Animals in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

Jeremy Withers


This article examines the role of animals, as well as of veganism, in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, his second novel which deals with the lingering trauma of 9/11. Although Foer took some readers by surprise with his overt interest in animal issues and dietary ethics in his follow up to Extremely Loud – the nonfiction work Eating Animals – this essay demonstrates that some of the issues regarding food and animals that will so preoccupy Foer in Eating Animals are already on display in his earlier fiction. Additionally, this article demonstrates the ways in which Foer is interested in Extremely Loud with how traumatized people use animals both to alleviate feelings of guilt and alienation, and also as chauvinistic reminders of human exceptionalism that only further contribute to their painful feelings of isolation.


Jonathan Safran Foer; pets; animals; veganism; trauma

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@Journal of Ecocriticism. ISSN 1916-1549