A Visit From The Goon Squad: Comparison of Chapter 8 and Chapter 12

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Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad: A Comparison of Chapters 8 and 12

Chapter 8: Selling the General

Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad explains the lives of different people whose relationships are weak, within a period of forty years. the main characters in the book, Bennie Salazar and Sasha are closely linked for some time. In most parts of the book, Bennie works are seen working as a record producer while Sasha is working as his assistant. This study will focus on the comparison between chapter 8, Selling the General and Chapter 12, Great Rock and Roll pauses. The comparison of Chapter 8 and chapter 12 draws various similarities like mother’s sacrifice, frustrations, and despair and also derive lessons such as remaining strong as depicted by the characters in the respective excerpts.

In chapter 8, Dolly, who was initially referred to as La Doll is a washed-up publicist who lost her career at a party that was poorly planned. She lives in a small apartment with her daughter Lulu as she tries to condone the publicity of a dictator known as the General. General was her only client and she tried to put up with the big celebrity stunt. Doll was managing him well when he called her to his premises to generate a kind imagery but General was engaging in his genocidal behavior. The idea of Dolly was on how to get a photograph of General with a woman, in specific, Kitty Jackson, who was a washed-up movie star (Egan, np). Dolly flies out with her daughter and organized a way that would see General meet with the movie star. After meeting the General, Kitty begins mouthing on the genocidal tendencies of the General. The event caused the kidnapping of Kitty while Lulu and her mother, Dolly, were sent back to their apartment but had no pictures of the General and Kitty. Dolly, however, published the pictures which spread due to the celebrity of the General. After producing the photos, the reporters began discussing the complex of the General, which forced him to let Kitty go as, which boosts her career as well. Dolly and her daughter, however, move to the city where they can start their life.

Chapter 12: Great Rock and Roll pauses

In chapter 12, it is in the form of a slide show that was developed by Alison Blake. As the narrative begins, the reader gets to know that Alison was twelve years and had a brother by the name of Lincoln. Lincoln was thirteen years old and was slightly autistic. The parents of the two children were Sasha Blake and Drew. Alison explains the things that her mother did, which angered her since her dad was at work most of the time or not at home. Lincoln had developed a deep interest in rock songs which had pauses as both Sasha and Alison found a way of bonding with him due to his interests (Egan, np). His father, however, had some problems bonding with his son, since Lincoln did not understand his obsessions but was more interested in pauses. From the story, the reader learns that Drew had a clinic that had operated the heart of a young girl who ended up dying and her parents were illegal.

The narrative draws a lot of tension between Sasha/Lincoln and Drew. From the perspective and tone of the narrative, after Drew gets home, he shows less affection to his wife as he turned to gin to cool his anger. Alison discovers the separation between Lincoln and his father as she also comes to get more details of Rob. During one night, Drew snapped at Lincoln at a moment he was having one of his enthusiastic rants about pauses, thus causing Lincoln break down to tears. Drew is, however, unable to sooth Lincoln, as he takes Alison on a walk into the desert where they go to see the solar panels as they discuss the pauses and Rob (Egan, np). They return home and as the slide shows come to an end, the slides are associated with the pauses in rock music and their statistics when compared to the general excellence.

Themes and Lessons

The two chapters depict two parties which against the will of the others. The relationships in the two chapters are sour, with the first relationship between the General and Dolly being torn by the washed-up movie star while Lincoln and Drew do not fare well. In chapter 8, the theme of publicity is dominant but it is accompanied by a negative behavior from the characters. The General, who had a great publicity had genocidal tendencies that affected the people who were close to him and those whom he interacted with. Moreover, Kitty Jackson, who was a popular movie star was washed up and mouthy, a character that caused the end of the relationship between the General and the Dolly. In the same way, in chapter 12, Drew is not in good terms with his wife and son, Lincoln (Egan, np). They have different interests and each of them is focused on meeting their own objectives and interests. Alison, however, wanted to bridge the gap between Drew and Lincoln despite the varied interests of each of them. Moreover, since Lincoln is slightly autistic, he is given preference and everyone is forced to like the pauses in the rock music which he likes. He is similar to the General who has gained a lot of publicity and celebrity life. Both characters tend to take dominance over the other in the narrative.

Chapter 8 shows the ins and outs of the various reasons why things happened in the narrative as well as how life changes. The main lesson derived from the chapter is that progress is important since Dolly keeps on going even after is loses her name La Doll, while Lulu keeps on going after she saw that Kitty Jackson was kidnapped. Lulu and her mother move to another part of the world even after Dolly is fired by the General (Egan, np). The most important lesson is that hardships happen in life but they are inevitable. They, however, make one grow and move to the next level. The main lesson learned in chapter 12 is the matured version of Sasha after she finally wiped out her old habits and became a mother. The choice of the author to present the chapter in the format of a power point presentation is symbolic as it depicts the changing times and the difference between the generation of Sasha and Alison. The choice makes the learning of the Blake family easy to understand and presents little information about them, thus making the story articulate.

The characters relate to each other in different ways, thus help the readers understand each of them individually. The difficulty that existed between Drew and Lincoln depicts the negativity and frustration in the events that were taking place in their lives. The two chapters have a lesson that helps the readers understand some themes that are evident between the characters, for instance, disparity, frustration, family, moving on among others. The motif of music is seen in chapter 12 through the breaks in rock music. The pauses also depict imagery since the pauses had different lengths and meanings and also carried various attributes. There is symbolism that is derived from the changing relationships between the General, Kitty Jackson, Lulu and Dolly.

Work cited

Egan, Jennifer. A visit from the goon squad. Random House Digital, Inc., 2011.

December 12, 2023

Movies Books

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Literature Review

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