Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Selling The General" Morals

One of my favorite stories in “A Visit From The Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan is Selling The General. It tells the story of a woman named Dolly, who lives with her daughter Lulu, and works for a general who has killed many people over time. Dolly struggles to find ways to improve his public image and make people forget about what he has done. She decides that in order to improve the general’s image she has to get a picture with him and a celebrity, Kitty Jackson. The general’s associate, Arc, says that it will be fine, however she will have to fly over to the general’s home country to take the pictures. Dolly is fine with this and with a little convincing persuades Kitty Jackson to come along. When Lulu says she wants to come on the trip, Dolly worries about her daughter’s safety. After taking pictures with the general, Kitty makes a scene talking to the general about all of the people he has killed. This prompts the enraged general to kidnap Kitty.

This chapter appeals to me because it is all about risk and morality. It shows how far people will go to advance their careers. Dolly throws out her morals and helps a man who has committed genocide. She compromises her morals to get money to help her through college and to help raise her daughter Lulu. It also shows that there are still people who would rather die than sacrifice their morals. Kitty Jackson does not stop bad mouthing the general even even though she knows that by doing so she is putting herself in danger.


  1. The intersection of risk and morality (as you put it) is a painfully intriguing aspect to this story. Eagan once again really gets at human nature, targeting our motivators and questioning our priorities. This chapter definitely provides more than appears at face value.

  2. The fact that a person would betray their morals for their job, as shocking as it should be, doesn't stun me. There are things that people would do to get a job that are absolutely shocking, still a great connection between morals in this chapter.