A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A suicidal college student, Rob pretends to be Sasha’s boyfriend so that Sasha’s father will finally think Sasha is dating a “nice” boy. Rob has depression, is possibly gay, and feels disconnected from himself and others. He knows Sasha’s secrets, and after revealing them to a mutual friend, Drew, he drowns in the East River.

Rob Quotes in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The A Visit from the Goon Squad quotes below are all either spoken by Rob or refer to Rob . 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 10 Quotes

For months she'd done business with Lars, arriving sometimes without having managed to take anything, just needing money. "I thought he was my boyfriend," she said. "But I think I wasn't thinking anymore." She was better now, hadn't stolen anything in two years. "That wasn't me, in Naples," she told you, looking out at the crowded bar. "I don't know who it was. I feel sorry for her."

Related Characters: Sasha Blake (speaker), Rob (speaker)
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

Before returning to New York City, beginning college, and meeting Rob, Sasha lived a transient lifestyle in Europe and Asia. Upon meeting Rob, they feign a relationship to make Sasha’s father happy, and the two become close. Sasha shares some of her destructive past experiences with Rob, which leads to a deep connection between them. In this quote, the pain Sasha has experienced because of her addiction to stealing and lack of understanding of her identity becomes clear.

Sasha misinterprets the meaning of her relationship with Lars. In reality, she was engaging in sex work, but because she believed Lars was her boyfriend, she was able to rationalize to herself the act of sleeping with him for money. In this case, the misinterpretation of certain situations has led Sasha to justify her actions, but not without devastating consequences. Her struggle in establishing an authentic identity is then depicted in her comments about pitying her past self. This suggests her identity has changed since that time, and the fact she hasn’t stolen in two years suggests she is on the road to redemption. This hope, however, is counteracted by the stories earlier in the book that show Sasha later in life and still engaging in her addiction.

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As you fail, knowing you're not supposed to panic—panicking will drain your strength—your mind pulls away as it does so easily…You slip through Sasha's open window, floating over the sill lined with artifacts from her travels: a white seashell, a small gold pagoda, a pair of red dice. Her harp in one corner with its small wood stool. She’s asleep in her narrow bed, her burned red hair dark against the sheets. You kneel beside her, breathing the familiar smell of Sasha's sleep, whispering into her ear some mix of I'm sorry and I believe in you and I'll always be near you, protecting you, and I will never leave you, I'll be curled around your heart for the rest of your life, until the water pressing my shoulders and chest crushes me awake and I hear Sasha screaming into my face: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Related Characters: Rob (speaker), Sasha Blake
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:

In a drug-inspired decision to go for a swim in the icy East River, Rob has followed Drew into the water. Unlike Drew, however, Rob is not a strong swimmer and gets caught in the current. In the novel, water often represents the idea of ruin, and in this scene these characters confront the ruin of their lives as Rob meets his final destruction through death.

Throughout the entire story Rob has struggled with a connection to himself, as embodied in the second-person narrative point-of-view. In this moment his mind slips away from his body, but he seeks connection by returning in his mind to Sasha, the one person with whom he has felt connected. Though he gives up fighting by the end of this scene, he continues to hold onto the idea that Sasha will find redemption, and it turns out that his death plays a role in inspiring Sasha to change her life. The switch into first person at the end of the quote suggests Rob’s reconnection with and acceptance of his identity (as, at the very least, a person who loves Sasha purely) in his final moments of life.

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Rob Character Timeline in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The timeline below shows where the character Rob appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Out of Body
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
This story is told in the second person by a character named Rob. While hanging out at a friend’s house, Rob listens to his friend Drew talk about... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Rob feels paranoid. He worries that Drew is mocking him, but Drew is sincere. Last fall,... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Drew gives Sasha a kiss. Rob knows Drew feels horny because he feels it too. He used to get into fights... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Drew kisses Sasha again, and Rob feels angry. They are at their friends Lizzie and Bix’s house, and it feels too... (full context)
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Drew joins Rob on the fire escape and they listen to Lizzie talk to her mom on the... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Rob remembers Drew telling him about his childhood in Wisconsin, where he built a log cabin,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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Bix tells Rob to come inside because Lizzie is stressed out. Inside, Rob apologizes to her, and then... (full context)
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Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Rob, Drew, and Sasha walk to Washington Square Park. Rob remembers that while he was recovering... (full context)
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Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Rob and Sasha began spending time together after the orientation, and Sasha became increasingly worried about... (full context)
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Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Rob and Sasha spend some time in the library, where Sasha writes a paper for one... (full context)
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Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
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After ten o’clock, Rob and Sasha meet Drew on Third Avenue and Saint Marks. Drew kisses her, and Rob... (full context)
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Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
As the Conduits play their concert, Rob stands in the back and watches Drew and Sasha close to the stage. He wishes... (full context)
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After the concert, Rob and Drew wait for Sasha outside. They are high on ecstasy, and Sasha says she... (full context)
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Later, Rob and Drew sit in another part of the city, and Rob says he feels bad... (full context)
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Later, they meet Bix, and Rob gives him the final ecstasy pill. Bix has been walking around for hours because the... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
After the club, Rob, Drew, and Bix eat breakfast, and then go to the East River. The sun is... (full context)
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Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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Rob and Drew walk together along the river, smoking a joint. Rob tells Drew he wishes... (full context)
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Drew tells Rob to leave him alone, and goes down to the river’s edge to a beach made... (full context)
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Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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Rob moves to the edge of the water and undresses. He feels if he can master... (full context)
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Rob flails, knowing he is not supposed to panic. His mind pulls away, and he imagines... (full context)
Chapter 12: Great Rock and Roll Pauses
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Alison knows the story of Rob’s drowning. After Rob drowned, Drew decided to become a doctor. When he told her this,... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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...says yes, but she will forgive him. Alison then asks if she forgave him when Rob drowned. Drew asks Alison what made her think of Rob. Alison says sometimes she just... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...now live where the lawns and golf courses used to be. Alison returns to discussing Rob, and asks Drew if Rob’s death was his fault. Drew says no, but tells her... (full context)