Essay Two: Literary Analysis—The Novel

Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad

Choose one prompt from below for your essay (3-5 Pages in Length)

1. Consider the SUN, in both its positive and negative images, as a symbol for the individual characters and for the story as a whole. Why is the sun so important? What does it symbolize? How does it connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

2. Consider the use of WATER, in both its positive and negative images, as a symbol for the individual characters and for the story as a whole. Why is water so important? What does it symbolize? How does it connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

3. Because of the organization—in mixed chronological (non-linear) order—the novel shows how characters and their relationships change over time. Compare and Contrast how the characters grapple with time…How do the characters resist or adapt to aging? How does the non-linear form support this? How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA)

4. “A” symbolizes the beginning point, or who the character is at a certain time in their life, and “B” symbolizes another place in the character’s life after having experienced life and changed relationships. Discuss how the characters connect, disconnect, and reunite, realizing that they have changed from A to B. How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

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5. Which character changes the most, and/or the least in the novel? Is redemption necessary for true change or can change occur without redemption? What part does redemption play in the idea of shame and survival? How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

6. A Visit from the Goon Squad shifts among various perspectives, voices, and time periods, and in one striking chapter (pp. 176–251), departs from conventional narrative entirely. What does the mixture of voices and narrative forms convey about the nature of experience and the creation of memories? Why has Egan arranged the stories out of chronological sequence? How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

7. In “A to B” Bosco unintentionally coins the phrase “Time’s a goon” (p. 96), used again by Bennie in “Pure Language” (p.269). What does Bosco mean? What does Bennie mean? What does the author mean? How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

 

 

8. Read the quotation from Proust that Egan uses as an epigraph (p. vii). How do Proust’s observations apply to A Visit from the Goon Squad? What impact do changing times and different contexts have on how the characters perceive and present themselves? Are the attitudes and actions of some characters more consistent than others, and if so, why? How does this connect with the central themesof the novel? You must use examples and textual support in the form of direct quotes. Please use appropriate citing and page numbers (MLA).

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Expectations: Include an introduction and conclusion, a thesis that takes a specific position on the whole question, a thorough discussion of specific details and a sense of the rationale for selecting them (using both brief direct quotations and textual references, correctly cited), and a strong focus that connects your thesis and all the details you choose to analyze. Avoid plot summary. Revise and proofread carefully, using MLA style.

Thesis Example:
In Jennifer Egan’s, A Visit From the Goon Squad, the author continually emphasizes images of sunlight throughout the progression of the novel that ascends into an overarching motif and further, illustrates how sunlight can be a symbol for memory and how characters interact with aging and time.

Quoting Evidence Example:
The sun is a constant symbol throughout the novel. It appears in many places, but the character’s perception of the sun changes depending on what is going on around them. On “a bad day,” the “sun feels like teeth” to Jocelyn (88), but later when she is with Rolph, waiting for the sun, she is moved to tears by “this fragile new sun in [their] arms” that is “bright and round” (91).

Include a Works Cited page for the primary text. Please type, double-spaced, using MLA format.