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A Visit From The Goon Squad Character Map and Analysis

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Casey Dobbert

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of A Visit From The Goon Squad Character Map and Analysis

Bennie
Sasha
Stephanie
Jules Jones
Bosco
La Doll/Dolly
Kitty Jackson
The General
Arc
Chris
Lulu
Alex
Scotty
Jocelyn
Rhea
Lou
Mindy
Albert
Charlie
Rolph
Alice
Rebecca
Cara-Ann
Drew
Alison
Lincoln
Ted Hollander
Lars the Swede
Rob
Lizzie
Bix
Lupa
Alex appears at the beginning of the novel, as going on a date with Sasha. He then comes back at the end, working with Bennie, and ends up searching for Sasha with Bennie. Alex is used as a symbolto show the connecions that people have with eachother, and how people reconnect with eachother. He also demonstrates the transformation of an era, and how things have changed. When we first meet Alex, he seems insignificant, and caught up in his own thoughts. His character was ambigious, without much direct backrground. But then at the end, the character of Alex is revealed, and shows where he has arrived in his life. The time he spends looking for Sasha with Bennie, shows the effect Sasha had on Alex. This encompassed an overall theme of connections, and how one person meeting another person can connect them in a way that they will never really forget them, and eventually they will meet up again some time in their lives.
Cara-Ann is the daughter of Alex. A young child of about 2 or 3, she obviously has very little character development. But she does stand for something important. She is being exposed to teh new technology of the age at a very young age, but by outside sources, not even by her own parents, who try to shelter her from the fast-moving world. She represents a new generation that will be submerssed in technology, and connected with everyone around her, going along with the theme of connections.
Rebecca is the wife of Alex. She holds the ideal of Cara-Ann being sheltered from devices such as handsets. Rebecca represents the kind of people that are wary about change, and what that could imply. Although she is in the network herself, she doesn't want her daughter to be consumed by everything the world is becoming. Rebecca herself is able to be found in the large crowd at the concert by Alex through the use of technology. This embodies the idea that technology will unite people and allow them to find eachother, which was a main theme throughout the book.
Although a very minor character, she represents an important turning point for Bennie, and that is why she is included. Lupa is Bennie's new wife, with whom he's had a child, Ava, with. Lupa represents a transformation in Bennie, and how he was able to start over, even so late in his life. It shows that people have a chance to renew themselves, even when it seems like they never will.
Chris is Bennie's son. We meet Chris initially after the divorce with Stephanie. He comes along with Bennie after school, in a mutual defiance against Stephanie. Chris represents the side of Bennie that would always cross Stephanie. Bennie is revealed to have been unfaithful to Stephanie multiple times in the past. He would always cross her as a way to make a point, or for a reason unbeknownst to Stephanie as well as Bennie. Chris embodies the side of Bennie that has the compulsive urge to defy Stephanie, whether or not there was a specific reason. Like father, like son.
Alice is a member of the Flaming Dildos, and caought in a terrible love triangle involving Bennie and Scotty. Alice ends up marrying, but then divorcing Scotty. Alice is considered one of the rich girls. She perpetuates the gold motif, because of her blonde hair. She also embodies the characterization of the upperclass in sociey, as all having blonde hair, the women that is.
Scotty was a part of the Flaming Dildos, a rising artist, who's talen was unparralled because of his ingenuity. He was able to make his own instrument, and when he played, was mesmerizing. He gets together with Alice during the time with the Flaming Dildos. Then he is revisted later in his life, as he is a janitor at a local school in New York City. He reconnects with Bennie after their time apart. Bennie is a big-shot musical producer, while Scotty is a janitor. It shows the different paths people can take during their lives, and where they can end up. Scotty coins the phrase "A to B". He asks what happens in the middle. The phisicality of this statement is actually represented in the formatting of the chapters of the book. Between the Flaming Dildos chater and the chpater that shows Scotty in later years, there are chapters inbetween. Those chapters actually physically represent the time that has passed between the Flaming Dildos and janitor Scotty. The reader also expirences a passage of time, when the reader is focused on something else, not the lives of Bennie and Scotty. Just as Bennie and Scotty are not focused on the lives of eachother. Bennie and Scotty converge once more at the end,when Scotty is making a debut performance at the end of his life. It is a time hwere everyone is becoming connected, and it is only fitting that Bennie and Scotty find eachother once again.
Jocelyn finds Lou and dates him, with herself being 17 and she being 35. The age difference creates a dichotomy between the two characters that influences the maturity of Jocelyn. In her relationship with Lou, she burns bright and fast. At this point in her life, she is choosing her own path and defining who she is and what she wants to become. Then, we revisit her later in life and discover that she has no aim to her life. She is middle aged and still living with her mother. She deomnstrates how someone who is young and ambicious can loose their way in the time between adolecence and adulthood.
Rhea is the introspective, green-haired, freckle faced, member of the Flaming Dildos. She is a witness of the relationship between Lou and Jocelyn. She stands as a point of view that is different from everyone else. She is looking at the world from an observatory point, where she can see and reflect on things. She almost physically embodies the reader, who is as well observing the events that happe in the people's lives.
Lou is an old man who acts young. He blazes so bright during his lifetime, costing a bright shadow over every life he touches. He has many children from many different marriages. He represents how a person's age cannot be hid forever. He lives for such a long time, acting as if time does not apply to him. This goes along with the theme of time, and how it affects people. Lou is the embodiment of someone separate of time. Only in the last few legs of his life does all of his timelessness catch up with him.
Charlie is Lou's daughter. Although mentioned briefly, she is significant because she represents budding adolesence. She is concious enough to see the corruptness of her father. She also is discovering an interest of becoming independent. Her character perpetuates the theme of independence and self-absolution.
Rolph represents the innoncence that shroud people when they first meet Lou. He is innocent to what Lou is and what Lou can do. Maybe because he is too young to understand. But then when he grows up, he realizes what his father is. He ends up killing himself. Whether it was because of Lou is unknown, but Roplh represents the start and end product of Lou's wake.
Mindy is an interesting character, because she is conscious of what Lou is doing. She is able to take a phsycoanalyical prospect toward Lou's actions, and yet allows herself to be manipulated by Lou. Her thought process is such that hse is conscious of what Lou is doing, but she allows herself to succumb to him.
Albert simply stands for what prompts Lou to marry Mindy. He demonstrates how Lou must always feel dominant, and will anything to assure his dominance.
Stephanie is Bennie's first wife. She moves to Crandale with Bennie, because that's where people who are as well-off as Bennie is live. That kind of society represents a part that is enshrouded in a golden light, as it is described in the story. All of the women's hair is blonde, while Stephanie's is not. She is also tatooed. This is a physical representation of the different background that Stephanie comes from. There is a definite juxaposition between that of Bennie and Stephanie and the other couples that live in Crandale. Stephanie confroms to the social norms of Crandale, and their conservative, upperclass views. She changes. She discards her past with Bennie, and everything that music used to be for Bennie and her.
Jules is related to Stephanie and is also a proficient writer. He got mixed up in a sex scandal with a budding new actress named Kitty Jackson. He actually writes an article about the encounter with Kitty Jackson and the attempted rape. This instance sets off the event of Kitty becoming even more famous than her movies made her. Which is also connected to hwo later, Kitty dates the General. Jules' character perpetuates will set off a series of events that connect back to one single point in time.
La Doll is a publicist who was able to climb to the top of fame and fortune. She climbed to the top, but then fell back down when she injured her clients in a light oil accident. She now just goes by Dolly. The change of her names shows the change in her life. She goes from someone who stands out, to someone who commonplace and ordinary. She is an example of how the characters fall, through the passage of time. There is, in almost all of the characters. A point at which they see a decline in their stature or otherwise. Dolly after the incident with the oil, finds herself cast out. She finds that the only wya she can keep up with herself afloat is by "selling out" to help publicize a cruel and terrible man. This is the embodiment of the idea that people fall from their high heights and resort to doing something they would never have thought they would do when they were at their high points.
Kitty Jackson was an actres that starred in Oh! Baby Oh!. She found a high point in her life after Jules Jones attacked her. But then she was exposed for who she was after the height of the trial was dimmed. She went through a fall of her own. Then she found her stardom again when she gets infolved with the General. She represents how people are affected by fame, and how they deteriorate through that fame.
Bosco was once a rock star, who would perform sporatically on stage, but who now is overweight and has no ambition. His idea was to go on a suicide tour, a final big bang to his life. Later a biography was written about him by Jules Jones.
The General was a man who committed mass murder, and has hired Dolly to make him popular to the public again. He is given a hat to wear, to make him seem kinder to the public. This hair-braine scheme actually seems to work suprisingly. This is an exposition on how the public's view of an actor or criminal can be tainted by their appearance. All that was needed was a fuzzy hat. Although this is a bit of an extreme sense of how the public's views would be changed, it still demonstrates the social paradigm of how a person's bad behavior can be worn away with time if they are famous and now have a good image.
Arc is the one who talks to the General and therefore talks to Dolly for the General. He basically represents the middle man in negoation matters, and that's about all he stands for.
Lulu represents an interesting paradigm to the story. She represents a complete immersion into the technological world, and by doing so, she is able to control a vast amount of people. She completely submerses herself into the connectivity of the society in which she lives, and therefore is able to control and manipulate the people within it. Lulu represents power and control. She represents how someone can be completely immersed in technology, but then also can be connected and communicate with the outside world. She can see things that other people can't, and use that information to aid her in her endeavors.
Drew is introduced as dating Sasha. He is someone who initally says with confidance that he is going to be president someday. Someone like that is not exactly a person that you would want to accociate yourself with, for fear that they might think they are above you. But, he turns out to be able to change when he is affected by Rob's death. He ends up marrying Sasha, and having two kids with her. Through his daughter's eyes, he is a pensive man, that doesn't take the time to really understand his family, because he is so immersed in his work. But he does take time to think about the death of Rob and how that affected him. He became a doctor so that he could save people, because he couldn't save Rob. He represents how people's lives can affect other people's and how they can change them. The people that you meet can have a significant impact on your life.
Alison is the daughter of Sahsa and Drew. She finds a way to express herself through technology. Her mother doesn't understand this, and ridicules her for it, but Alison still sticks with her unique form of expression. She is able to observe things, and see the relationship between Sasha and Drew, and how things are between them. She knows a lot more than a typical girl of her age would know. She is able to determine what people mean to say or act, compared to what they actually say or do. She is the only one who really understands her brother. She represents understanding, and how a person can observe and deduce what is going on between two people, without them stating it directly.
Lincoln is the slightly autistic son of Sasha, who has taken up her passion of music. Through him, you can see how much music still has an affect on Sasha's life. He focuses mainly on the silences, and gets hooked on one subject at a time. Lincoln is used to demonstrate Sasha's everpresent obession with music, and how it has enveloped her so much that it seeps into the subconcious of her child.
Ted Hollander is the uncle of Sasha, who is enlisted to go search for Sasha when she runs away from home. But instead of spending his time looking for her, he goes sight-seeing. He was a prominent part of Sasha's past, sheltering her when her parents were fighting, and providing the parental figure when she had none. He cares for Sasha, and to see her be transformed into a wandering nomad affects him. He only come across her by chance. This is the motif throughout the story of how people who have once known eachother, happen to see eachother again later in their lives, even if they did not originally have the intention of seeing one another. Ted also stands for how Sasha was someone worth looking for. She was someone who didn't want to be found, but should be found by someone who loved and cared for her, so it was only fitting that Ted ran into her.
Lars was a man that Sasha got involved with in Naples. He bought the goods that Sasha stole for him. He represented the temptations that caused Sasha to steal, and also the influences that she had in her life, that caused her to make wrong decisions.
Rob probably had the best connection with Sasha, out of all the people she associated herself with. He had an amazing bond with her, where they were able to tell eachother everything. He was able to be her emotional rock when times got tough. He struggles with his sexuality, and therefore cannot pinpoint his feelings for Sasha, but he stands for so much more than just his struggles with society. He stands for someone who is strong, and can persevere through all of the challenges that life throws at him. The way he comes to an end though is the most significant, because it shows that fate has controlled his life entirely, even when he wanted to go against it with attempted suicide. He was one of those people who could have shone brightly, but never got the chance.
Lizzie is simply a friend of Rob's and Sasha's and only real point in the novel is to incorporate the character Bix, and show the paradigm between parents and rebellious children.
Bix is not a very significant character, but he is important in the fact that he is able to see that technology will make other things obsolete, converging with the theme of technology and how it changes the world.
Bennie is one of the main characters of this book. He was once a member of the Flaming Dildos and then goes on to produce a record label himself, and goes off into the music industry. He then has a sort of falling out, where he is unable to produce anything that anyone will buy, but then ends up converging again with another musical act of his old time friend Scotty, whom he hopes will set his career back into motion. Bennie demonstrates how a person with ambitions can follow down a path they never intended to go down. He represents success as well as failure. His success and failure in the music industry also represents the music industry as a whole, and how it changes through time. He also connects with many people throughout the story, and has connections with Sasha's connections as well. The entire book is a summation of circumstances to eventually everyone being connected in the end.
Shasha can probably be considered as the main character of this book. She has a problem with stealing things, and this kind of ailment affects her throughout her life. It spurs up in parts of the story when she has found herself in messy situations. This is a kind of indicator as to when Sasha's life isn't going exactly as planned. Shasha embodies the free-spirit aspect of the novel. She embodies the time period it was initially set in and how that era affected her and what she did. She is always consumed by music and her always in some way consists of muscial aspects. She represents how the passage of time can affect someone and send them down different paths.
Characterization of The Goons
By Casey Dobbert
Full transcript