Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Egan's Parent-Child Relationships

In "A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, I noticed a recurring characteristic of the stories. All of them have some aspect of a damaged parent-child relationship. Sasha's father abandoned her, Bennie can't communicate/ build a healthy relationship with his son, Lou and his son's relationship takes a turn for the worse, Dolly's child is embarrassed of her, and Drew has issues understanding his son.

I have yet to discover the characteristic that either the parent or the child affected by these fractured relationships share. Bennie, Lou, and Sasha have low self esteem. Bennie's low self esteem connects directly to his son, Chris, in Bennie's shame memory of when Chris got lice. Sasha in Good-Bye My Love reveals that she imagines her father is watching her. This makes her really hard on herself and so she gets really upset when she feels like she lets him down. Lou's quest for youth is pretty untouched by the influence of his children. It can be said him having so many children prevent him from feeling as young as he would like to.

Egan could not be trying to make a point about families being that there is no overall message that applies to the different examples provided. She could just be saying parents and children just don't always get along but I would like to think there is something more. Am I reading too much into it or is there a theme with parent-child relationships?


  1. I see your point, but I believe that Egan is trying to show that the relationship between a parent and their child can have a large impact on their life. When Sasha was abandoned by her father, she started to loose her path in life. ALso, Lou was a bad parent, and his son committed suicide.

  2. I agree, all the parents in the book seem to be pretty messed up, though at the end of the book (Ch.13) I really think Alex was shown as a good father to symbolize finalization with a happy ending