Goon Squad Lou

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In literature, the protagonist is usually either exalted or cast as an anti-hero. It is unusual for an author to use the paradox of good and evil within a single character. This paradox can be difficult to work with because it can dominate a book and define the character that it is being used on. While the paradox itself can be quite meaningful in and of itself, the obfuscating lens that it creates can destroy the true nature of a character.With Lou in A Visit from the Goon Squad, Egan manages to capture this contradiction of being both embraced and speared, while still maintaining Lou's true nature. Even though Lou's true nature is protected, his mix of good and evil manages to affect the entire book.

Within the novel, we see two real cases of true love from Lou. Lou's love for Rolph is obvious, although it is flawed. We see that the only relationship that really matters to Lou is his relationship with Rolph. “A twice-divorced… separate his father’s loves and desires from his own.” (65). We are led to believe that the relationship between between Lou and Rolph is one sided in an extreme way. Lou appears to not care for his son, saying things that obviously hurt him. Sadly, Lou’s mistakes with Rolph are not because he doesn’t know how to treat a child, they are the same mistakes that Rolph is making. Like Rolph, this relationship is the first thing he has truly needed, and because of that, he cannot separate himself from Rolph. It is apparent that Lou cannot have a real relationship with women. Even though he loves his child, he cannot help but destroy the innocence and fragility that is Rolph. Without meaning to he shatters the bonds between Rolph and his sister. In the end, he makes the largest argument for his life being ruined by his father, by killing himself in his fathers house. The other character that Lou loves is Bennie. Bennie leads a depressing life. He is stuck in a career that almost pains him to be in, bringing up memories that negatively...
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