Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Analysis of Lou From A Visit From the Goon Squad

Egan’s non sequential structure of her novel a Visit From the Goon Squad fosters multiple sides of the same character, causing the reader’s perception of the character to alter. The same character is viewed through multiple character’s standpoint. With each change of narrator, the reader’s perception of the character changes in accordance to the narrator's relationship to the character.

In the third chapter, Ask Me if I Care, readers first meet Lou from Rhea’s perspective. “And I know that Lou is one of those shit heads.” Rhea feels a great deal of hostility for Lou. From her perspective Lou is pictured as a sordid, egocentric man, who fears growing older. His treatment of Rhea and Jocelyn, first at dinner then at the club, generates a sense of hatred in the reader for Lou. 

In the next chapter, Safari, the reader is offered a different side of Lou. This chapter is told through both third person and from Mindy’s eyes. Lou is now shown as a paternal figure, who cares a great deal about his children. This new paternal side of Lou causes the reader to modify their impression of Lou. His protectiveness for Charlie and his undisputed love for Rolph humanizes Lou. The reader must now acknowledge that while Lou has done despicable things, he is not completely immoral. 

 The final image of Lou the reader is given is him as an old dying man. It is in chapter five, You (Plural), that Lou is seen at his most vulnerable. The reader doesn’t feel disgust nor grudging respect for Lou; all they feel is pity. This chapter is from Jocelyn’s point of view, as she recounts Lou’s failures. He ultimately failed his children as a father, and for all his power and wealth dies alone and unloved. Though Jocelyn is filled with hatred for Lou, the reader feels pity because Lou was his own undoing. 

These multiple perspectives on Lou create a more multidimensional character than a conventional novel structure.


  1. I agree with you. Lou was hated at first, then seen as a human, or a man with feelings, but then he was seen as pitiful.

  2. Yeah my perspective of him changed once he started to deteriorate. but he definitely wasn't a very good person.

  3. I agree, at first I thought Lou was a creep, but as the story went on I felt pity for him because of his obsession with youth. Nice paragraph!

  4. I agree and I kind of like how it was easy to judge Lou and have a negative opinion of him but then, later on, the reader almost feels bad for thinking those things about him

  5. I agree. I think Lou as a character was a very good example of Egan's ability to play with the reader's opinion and feelings toward a character.