A Visit from the Goon Squad Major Character Analysis

Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad

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  • Features 13 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree in English Literature
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A Visit from the Goon Squad Major Character Analysis

Sasha

When she first appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad, Sasha is in therapy for her kleptomania, having lost her job and her friends, presumably as a result of her condition. We eventually learn that she has had an abusive childhood and her adolescence involved self-destructive behavior. She runs away at seventeen and travels the world for two years, before returning home and going to college. At NYU, she meets Rob, her best friend who accidentally drowns in the East River shortly after his attempted suicide. She also meets and starts dating Drew, who witnesses Rob’s drowning and is unsuccessful at trying to save him. After many years apart, Sasha and Drew reconnect and are “married late” (233); they have two children, Alison and Lincoln. At the end of the novel, Sasha makes sculptures out of objects from her family’s daily life, items that are “casual and meaningless” (265).

In the non-chronological storytelling of Goon Squad, Sasha’s story bookends the novel. In the first chapter, entitled “Found Objects,” she brings a first date, Alex to her apartment. This scene uses foreshadowing, as Sasha is startled “to think of herself as a glint in the hazy memories that Alex would struggle to organize” (14). In the penultimate chapter, Alison says that Sasha “uses ‘found objects’” (265) to make her sculptures. The phrase echoes the title of the first chapter and draws a parallel between Sasha’s earlier, pathological need to collect personal items from people in her life and her later, apparently therapeutic, practice of creating art with artifacts from her own life. In curing her kleptomania, Sasha also recognizes that her own life has as much value as the lives of others. The parallels and contrasts between the two practices, the stealing and the sculpting, suggest the novel is concerned with both continuity and change.

Bennie

When Bennie Salazar first appears in the novel, he is in his mid-forties and struggling with sexual impotence and anxiety attacks prompted by shameful memories. Bennie is a music industry executive with humble beginnings, who climbs to the top of his industry and then slides into…

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