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Transcript of Puzzles
by Alex and Jordyn
Ponder This: Puzzle Edition
Relating Puzzles to the Text
Hope you've been paying attention :Quiz
Understand the theme of puzzles in the text
Oskar found a key in a envelope inside a vase labeled "Black"
This key fuels a long search for the matching lock
The key is the only piece to the puzzle that Oskar has
Oskar hopes that the key will give him closure about his fathers tragedy
He also looks at the key as another one of his fathers missions to him
"I started to clean everything up, and that was when i noticed something else weird. In the middle of all of that glass was a little envelope, about the size of a wireless internet card. What the? I opened it up, and inside there was a key. What the, what the? It was a weird-looking key, obviously something extremely important, because it was fatter and shorter than a normal key. I couldn't explain it; a fat and short key, in a little envelope, in a blue vase, on the highest shelf in his closet" (Safran Foer, 37).
What does this Mean?
After discovering the key, Oskar immediately looks at the situation like a puzzle. He begins to think about what the key unlocks and collects all the clues he has so far by describing where he found the key and the significance of those clues as they may help him discover the purpose behind the key.
What is Oskar thinking?
"I didn't like the enclosed T-shirt. I loved it! Although unfortunately it wasn't white, so i couldn't wear it" (Safran Foer, 40).
What is the relevance of this fact?
How does it teach the reader about Oskar's character?
How does this work with other characteristics to develop Oskar's personality?
Cause (someone) to feel confused because they cannot understand something.
To baffle or confuse mentally by presenting or being a difficult problem or matter.
To clarify or solve (something confusing) by reasoning or study
To ponder over a problem in an effort to solve or understand it
All these significant characteristics (or puzzle pieces) work together to create Oskars character, but it is up to the reader to put the pieces together to discover how these characteristics shape Oskar.
Oskar's brain is a puzzle because he'll say or think certain things that confuse the reader
As readers, we often look for actions, decisions, quotes, or thoughts that help us understand the character
The author mentions things about Oskar that are obviously significant to his character but is not clear why
"I was looking for clues that might lead me in a direction. I had to be extremely careful so that i wouldn't contaminate the evidence, or let Mom know what i was doing, or cut and infect myself, and i found the envelope that the key was in. It was then that i notices something that a good detective would have noticed at the very beginning: the world 'Black' was written on the back of the envelope... Dad's handwriting was weird. It looked sloppy, like he was writing in a hurry, or writing down the word while he was on the phone, or just thinking about something else. So what would he have been thinking about?" (Safron Foer, 41)
Trying to Put the Pieces Together...
The Search for the Blacks
The envelope with the key had the word Black written on it
Oskar thinks of this word as the first clue, or piece of a puzzle
His hope is that when the puzzle is complete he will feel closure regarding his fathers death
Where to start?
Oskar uses the fact that the word Black was not written in the colour black as another clue to determine the meaning behind the key
To him, it is the first piece of a very large puzzle
"I showed her the envelope, and explained how i had found the key, and how I was trying to find the lock it opened, and how maybe black meant something. I wanted to know what she could tell me about black, since she was probably an expert of colour. 'Well', she said, 'I don't know that I'm an expert of anything. But one thing i can say is it's sort of interesting that the person wrote the word black in red pen.' I asked why that was interesting, because i just thought it was one of those red pens Dad used when he read the New York Times" (Safran Foer, 44).
The Man Who Marries Second Best
The reader is confused as to why if the grandfather was so in love with Anna would he marry her sister
Why did he leave Oskar's grandmother?
Why did he come back?
Why do they keep the grandfather out of Oskar's life
"But there were a lot of people I knew better. For example, i didn't know anything about what it was like when she was a kid, or how she met grandpa, or what their marriage was like, or why he left." (Safran Foer, 105)
"But then I heard something. Or I thought I heard something. There was a nice in the apartment, like someone walking around. And then 'what is that?' I asked. 'My ears aren't a hundred dollars,' She said. 'but there is someone in the apartment. Maybe its the renter?' 'No' She said, 'He went off to a museum earlier.' 'What museum?' 'I don't know what museum. He said he wouldn't be back until later tonight.' 'But I can hear someone.' 'No you can't,' She said. I said, 'I'm ninety-nine percent sure I can.' She said, 'Maybe it's just your imagination." I was in the place that I couldn't come back from."
(Safran Foer, 106)
A Tragic Mystery
How did Thomas Jr die?
How can Oskar gain Closure?
Oskar is confused because he doesnt understand how his father died and it continues to sit in his mind
He constantly watches videos of the twin towers falling to see if he could spot his father
He listens to his fathers messages looking for hints
"I grabbed the flashlight from my backpack and aimed at the book. I saw maps and drawings, pictures from magazines and newspapers and the internet, pictures I'd taken with Grampa's camera. The whole world was there. Finally, I found the pictures of the falling body. Was it Dad? Maybe. Whoever it was, it was somebody. (Safran Foer, 325)" Cont'd 325-326.
"The renter had been living with Grandma since dad died, and even though I was at her apartment basically every day, I still hadn't met him" (Safran Foer, 69).
Hands (yes/no, skeleton)
Letter (format and fanmail)
Pen (red and testing)
Why does the author use pictures?
How do they enhance the text?
What do the pictures mean?
What is their significance?
Ponder This: What do they all have in common?
They are all pieces to the biggest puzzle, the story itself.
Hope we didn't bore you!
1) Name 5 images and explain how they relate to the puzzle theme
2) What were the first clues that led Oskars on the hunt to find the meaning of the key?
3) What other puzzles are found in the book?
4) What is the definition of a puzzle?
5) Explain why Oskar put last images (of the falling man) backwards?
6) How is the overall book a puzzle ?
7) How is Oskars brain a puzzle?