A Visit from the Goon Squad

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Jocelyn Character Analysis

A childhood friend of Rhea, Bennie and Scotty, Jocelyn begins a sexual relationship with Lou Kline at the age of seventeen. Jocelyn spends much of her adult life in and out of rehab, but eventually finds recovery. By the end of the book, she is living with her mother and pursuing a college degree. Like many other characters, Jocelyn struggles with aging and the feeling that she has wasted her time and not created the life she wants.

Jocelyn Quotes in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The A Visit from the Goon Squad quotes below are all either spoken by Jocelyn or refer to Jocelyn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of A Visit from the Goon Squad published in 2011.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Every night, my mother ticks off another day I've been clean. It's more than a year, my longest yet. "Jocelyn, You've got so much life in front of you," she says. And when I believe her, for a minute, there's a lifting over my eyes. Like walking out of a dark room.

Related Characters: Jocelyn (speaker), Lou Kline, Rhea
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

Jocelyn and Rhea return to Lou’s house twenty years after the chapter “Ask Me If I Care,” which first introduced this cast of characters. Lou, who was last seen as a powerful record executive, has been ruined by a stroke; Rhea, who struggled with her punk persona, has gotten married and had children; and Jocelyn, who was popular but lost, has been in and out of rehab and finally gotten clean. The large leap in time since the last time these characters appeared illuminates the unpredictable and often ruinous effects of time on their lives.

Jocelyn has had a particularly difficult time in the preceding years, and feels as though she is beyond redemption, having missed her chance at a good life. Her lack of hope is depicted in her struggle to believe her mother’s encouraging words, but at moments she is able to believe her, and feels relief at the thought of redemption.

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Jocelyn Character Timeline in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The timeline below shows where the character Jocelyn appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Ask Me If I Care
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...the voice of a young woman named Rhea. Late at night, Rhea, Scotty, Bennie, and Jocelyn go to Alice’s house. Alice tells the group about a private school where she went... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...in a punk rock band called the Flaming Dildos. At school, Rhea, Scotty, Bennie, and Jocelyn, hang out on a strip of pavement called “the pit” with the other punk rockers.... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...down the path from the pit. Rhea wonders why the cholos talk to him, and Jocelyn tells her that Bennie is a cholo, too. Rhea explains the triangulations of love within... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...hair green to draw attention away from the freckles. She feels ugly in comparison to Jocelyn, whom she thinks is beautiful. They have done everything together since fourth grade. Jocelyn has... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
On Saturday, Jocelyn and Rhea go to Scotty’s garage for band practice. Alice is there with a recorder... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...after band practice. They drink from Rhea’s dad’s liquor before going, and Rhea notes that Jocelyn needs to drink more than her to get drunk. They eavesdrop in the Mab’s bathroom,... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
On another Saturday night, the band goes to the Mab, but Jocelyn goes out with Lou. After the concert, they return to Alice’s house, where Alice’s mom... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
...if Rhea is making a joke. Rhea says no, and promises not to laugh with Jocelyn later about the uniforms. Alice says she doesn’t care either way. Rhea notices that Alice’s... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Later, Bennie tells Jocelyn and Rhea that the Flaming Dildos got a gig at the Mab. They shriek and... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
After the news, Jocelyn uses Rhea’s phone (at her house) to call Lou. Lou scolds Jocelyn, telling her not... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
The night of the concert, Rhea and Jocelyn meet Lou for dinner at a fancy restaurant. Rhea notes that he looks as old... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
They walk together to the Mab, Rhea and Jocelyn beneath Lou’s arm. In the hustle and bustle of Broadway, Rhea feels that once her... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Rhea turns to Jocelyn, and is surprised to find her kneeling in front of Lou, giving him oral sex.... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
After the concert, everyone goes to Lou’s house. The apartment is more extravagant than Jocelyn told Rhea, and she feels betrayed by this. Inside, everyone is shook up from the... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Two weeks later, Jocelyn runs away. Rhea tells her parents that she is with Lou. Scotty and Alice have... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
While Rhea is waiting for Jocelyn to come home, Alice invites her over to her house. She has never seen Alice’s... (full context)
Chapter 5: You (Plural)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Jocelyn and Rhea, adults now, return to Lou’s house. Twenty years have passed since the last... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Jocelyn can only say “hello,” and Rhea notes that everything is the same. They both laugh... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...shows Lou a photo of her children, and Lou says her sixteen-year-old daughter is cute. Jocelyn feels angered by this, since she herself was that age when she met Lou. She... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
A nurse comes in and adjusts Lou’s tubes, and Jocelyn has to look away from Lou’s colostomy bag. She begins to cry, thinking that Lou... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Lou tells Rhea and Jocelyn he hasn’t been outside in weeks, so they push his bed outside to the pool.... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Jocelyn asks about Rolph, forgetting that he committed suicide years ago. Rhea shakes her head. Jocelyn... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Jocelyn remembers standing on the roof with Rolph, watching a party by the pool. They waited... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...of him. He puts his arms around them and says it’s nice to be with Jocelyn and Rhea again. They look at the water and listen to the birds. He asks... (full context)