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Miscommunication has been a theme throughout Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Oskar has thought throughout the book that his mom didn't care about him because she never asked where he was going, but the whole time she knew and was calling ahead to make sure that Oskar would be safe.
Throughout the novel the key has been both a literal thing and a symbol. Symbol wise the key has represented both Oskar staying close wtih his dad for a little longer and Oskar searching for closure.
In the end of the novel the casket represents both Oskar and Thomas Sr. getting closure. They fill the casket with the letters Thomas Sr. never was able to send to Thomas Jr., and that's how Sr. got closure. Oskar gets closure because he finally got to bury something.
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