A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapters 5-6 Summary & Analysis

Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapters 5-6 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 5 Summary: You (Plural)

“You (Plural)” is set about a quarter-century after “Ask Me If I Care.” After Lou Kline’s second stroke, Bennie has called the old group together to visit him. Jocelyn, who narrates this chapter, is in recovery from her addictions. Lou is now confined to a bed, supported by breathing tubes and IV treatments. Rhea is able to talk to Lou jovially, but Jocelyn is distracted by the traumatic memories this visit is bringing up. Jocelyn compares her life—mid-forties, living with her mother while working towards her first college degree—with Rhea’s: married with three children, the oldest of whom is sixteen, or as Jocelyn observes, “almost my age when I met Lou” (87). She remembers Lou’s son Rolph, who was exactly the same age as her. She remembers kissing him, and she remembers that Rolph stopped speaking to her after a while. She asks Lou about him, forgetting that Rolph committed suicide many years before. Lou begins to weep, and Rhea reacts with empathy toward him, assuming that Jocelyn had not forgotten about the suicide, but was asking in order to hurt him. Jocelyn is struck with anger, and imagines pushing Lou’s bed into the pool to let him drown, then says to him, “I should kill you . . . You deserve to die” (90). He asks Jocelyn and Rhea to hold hands with him, and they flank his bed, holding his hands, looking at the pool, just like old times.

Chapter 6 Summary: X’s and O’s

Scotty Hausmann, the narrator of this chapter, lives a reclusive life in New York City. He sees an article about his old band-mate, Bennie Salazar, in a copy of SPIN magazine, and decides to send him a note. When Bennie responds with a polite typewritten letter, Scotty decides to pay him a visit, wearing his compulsively dry-cleaned jacket and bringing with him a fish he’s just caught in the East River. He goes to the Sow’s Ear offices with the fish in hand and refuses to leave until Bennie meets with him. Inside Bennie’s office, Scotty realizes that they are…

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