According to, about 107 billion humans lived and died by the year 2012. This sparked a lot of emotions among those who became familiar with the facts, but the most common was fear. Many were worried about the remaining resources left for those still alive on planet earth. Others worried how that number might fail to increase as technology and humanity improved, and therefore worried about the space left on earth. She even worried about being forgotten, like so many of those billions had been. The more suspicious people, however, didn’t so much think about the resources or their place on the planet. They instead reflected on similar beliefs of the character Oskar in the novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

This novel outlines the thought process of a young boy with autism during a very difficult time in his life. After contemplating his father’s death in the 9/11 terrorist attack, and mulling over his thoughts of the event, Oskar begins to consider the darker side of all those who died. He says, “Isn’t it so weird how the number of dead people is increasing even though the earth stays the same size, so that one day there isn’t going to be room to bury anyone anymore?” He then compares this to buildings under the ground for the dead, and a whole new society being built underground for the people who are buried. This I think is fascinating, and a whole new beautiful way to look at death. It’s always said that death is a new beginning, a gateway into a newest life. But this analogy that Oskar gives is much more childish, and easier to understand. It feels more comfortable to imagine because we live this way, our lives building up and up and up. For those who have died, buried under the ground, Oskar still imagines them building up and up and up, a life after death if you will. This is often times what many people think about when discovering the population of the dead: an afterlife. But often times, this afterlife can seem dark and gloomy, especially to those who look down on death. This is not to suggest that death is a good thing, but there is always a life before and ahead to celebrate. I think this is where Oskar’s positive outcome lies. He reminisces on the good life his father had, and hopes for an even better life in the future for him, in which he can keep building up and up and up and up….


CC BY-SA 4.0 Number of Deceased: A Count by Annie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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