A Visit From the Goon Squad; You (Plural)
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Author:  Suzanne [ Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:23 am ]
Post subject:  A Visit From the Goon Squad; You (Plural)

Jennifer Egan

Chapter 5: You (Plural)

Author:  heledd [ Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; You (Plural)

Jocelyn is the narrator now. Her and Rhea, both 43, are visiting Lou after his second stroke. Bennie has tried to reunite the old gang of friends, but been unable to trace Scottie. Twenty years have passed by and they stare at ‘our familiar features rinsed in weird adulthood’.
‘…How did you get so old?’ Jocelyn muses as she looks at Lou, tubes up his nose, and bodily fluids draining into bags. ‘Was it all at once, in a day, or did you peter out bit by bit…?’
Rhea was never as unaware.
At the end of Chapter Three, Lou remarked ‘I am your age’ while Rhea retorted ‘You’re already old,…’
Jocelyn feels that her life has been wasted because of a man ‘who turned out to be old’ and that everyone else seems to be making headway in life, while she is a recovering addict who has still to finish her BA. Perhaps because of this, she is more aware of time running out, and the imminent death of Lou brings this closer. She understands now that Rhea was not easily led
‘The whole time, Rhea knew what she was doing. Even dancing, even sobbing. Even with a needle in her vein, she was only half pretending. Not me’.
This is true. Rhea in Chapter Three is very concerned to decipher between what is real and not
‘. . . Knowing all this makes us one step closer to being real but not completely. When does a fake Mohawk become a real Mohawk? Who decides? How do you know if it’s happened?
Jocelyn reveals that while sharing Lou’s bed, she had her first ‘real’ love affair with Rolph, his son. They both share the same birthday, same year.
The two women take Lou out near the swimming pool, and Jocelyn recalls giving oral sex to Lou in possible full view of his son. ‘I have a thing or two to say about that one’ thinks Jocelyn, showing that she still does not count herself responsible for her actions – it was all Lou’s fault.
In a horrific paragraph, we are led to believe that Jocelyn, in her anger, has tipped Lou, complete with IV needles and paraphernalia, into the swimming pool, and jumps in after to drown him.
‘When he’s absolutely still, I let him float to the top’.
But it is all in her imagination and instead she tells Lou ‘You deserve to die’.
The (Plural) in the title I think refers to our different selves at different times, how we may change in appearance, and yet be the same person. Jocelyn thinks to herself:
‘I’m afraid the real Lou will be outside by the pool where he lived with a red phone on a long cord and a bowl of green apples, and the real Lou and this old Lou will have a fight. How dare you? I’ve never had an old person in my house and I’m not going to start now.

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