A Visit from the Goon Squad


Jennifer Egan

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Goon Squad makes teaching easy.

A Visit from the Goon Squad Themes

Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Visit from the Goon Squad, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Time and Memory

A Visit from the Goon Squad serves as an in depth exploration of the passage of time, the effects of aging on individual lives, and the longing for the past through memory. The novel’s title even speaks directly to the theme of time. Bosco, the former guitarist of The Conduits, who has become fat, alcoholic, and suicidal, states, “Time’s a goon, right?” Traditionally, a goon was an individual who inflicts fear and violence on…

read analysis of Time and Memory

Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning

The issue of identity is a prominent theme in A Visit from the Goon Squad, as Egan explores the extent to which identity is inherent and the ways in which it is assumed. The novel’s characters struggle to find meaning and authenticity in their lives, and they use different methods to discover, create, and escape their identities. The novel’s two primary characters, Sasha and Bennie, are two examples of characters that face challenges…

read analysis of Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning

Connection, Disconnection, and Technology

The theme of Connection and Disconnection is finely balanced in Egan’s novel. Structurally, the novel highlights the way in which the characters’ lives are woven together. Characters from one story emerge in later stories as background characters, and background characters in some stories take center stage at other points in the novel. For example, the story “Ask Me if I Care” is narrated by Rhea and includes Jocelyn as a side character. Later in the…

read analysis of Connection, Disconnection, and Technology
Get the entire Goon Squad LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Visit from the Goon Squad PDF

Ruin and Redemption

The theme of ruin and redemption is present throughout Egan’s novel. This theme fits nicely alongside the novel’s other themes, as the characters find themselves crushed by time, by their self-centered and isolating ways of living, and by shifts in American culture. Throughout the novel, each of the major characters finds him- or herself at a low point. Sasha’s story shows her slipping deeper into ruin as the result of her stealing, her isolation…

read analysis of Ruin and Redemption