Thursday, November 6, 2014


One of the continual underlying themes in A Visit From the Goon Squad is fear.  Although not as prevalent as other themes in the book, fear still plays a significant factor in the lives of the characters. Although fear plays a role in most of the characters' lives, it appears most consistent with Bennie.

When Bennie is talking with Scotty about life the fear is incredibly obvious.  Egan writes how Scotty can actually smell the fear in the room when they are together.  The fear in this instance is rather curious.  The reader is not necessarily left with an explanation as to why Bennie is afraid, only left with an implication.  Egan sets up Scotty as an intelligent aging custodian who really has no life at all.  Bennie is an incredibly powerful CEO and there is no reason whatsoever for him to fear Scotty.  During the chapter Scotty keeps thinking about how he usually doesn't have particularly good luck but the day he sends a letter to Bennie, he has a great fishing day; he also enviously complains how Bennie always has the best of luck.  Seeing the current lifestyle of Scotty one could infer that he is the opposite of Bennie and doesn't have very good luck.  Perhaps Egan wants the reader to think that Scotty's bad luck will simply rub off on Bennie, and Bennie knows it will happen.

The second instance of fear that occurs in Bennie's life is during chapter two.  Bennie is on his way to visit his failing band that he hand-picked.  While he is watching them he has a kind-of panic attack and recalls a shameful memory.  Bennie fears parts of his past a lot and he cannot seem to forget them.  Bennie also appears scared in this chapter because the band he picked is failing.  The failing of said band could make Bennie wonder if he is losing his touch in regards to finding the next big thing.

1 comment:

  1. i agree that fear is a prevalent idea in the story X's and O's and the entire book itself.