General Annotations

Punk Rock

The Punk Rock scene plays an important role in the lives of the high school group of friends that includes Bennie, Scotty, Rhea, Jocelyn, and Alice. This is seen in the chapter “Ask Me If I Care” and referenced in other chapters such as “The Gold Cure.” Punk music began in the late 1960s as garage bands and developed into a phenomenon around 1975. According to AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC, the Ramones were the first punk rock band in New York, followed by the Sex Pistols in London. The music they produced was seen as risky and threatening toward the government, particularly the monarchy in England; understandably so considering the typically political nature of the lyrics. In America, a significant aspect of the punk culture consisted of the venues where the bands would play and their underground nature (link The genre itself did not have a strict sound. In fact, sub-categories of punk began to form almost immediately, including post-punk and new wave, eventually transforming into branches that became emo and indie among others. Despite the different sounds, these sub-genres retained the punk identifying factor of “a fascination with electronics, style, and art” ( While the punk rock age was primarily in the ’70s, it still persists in the music industry today, experiencing waves of interest every now and again. The purpose of punk rock is to break away from conformity and to reflect “economic and social conditions” (

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Facebook references appear in the fourth chapter called “Safari,” more specifically on page 71. It is referred to as the most prominent social networking website that coordinates many types of information such as interests, acquaintances and personal photos. It also facilitates commerce, politics, culture and humanitarian efforts. Its name is due to the colloquial name for the book given to students at the beginning of the academic year. Facebook was created in February 2004 by some students of the Harvard University who had initially limited the website's membership to students of their university, but it gradually added more members. Now it allows anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website.



Throughout the first chapter, called “Found objects,” the reader is introduced to the term “kleptomania.” This is a disease related to an impulse control impairment that leads to compulsive robbery. A person affected by kleptomania is not able to restrain himself from stealing goods no matter their value. Consequently, this disease causes a psychological addiction that entails a physical anxiety which can only be relieved by taking over the ‘target’ object.  A reinforcement of his behavioral disorder ensues from the aforementioned relief. There is a distinct difference between being a kleptomaniac and being a thief since the former plans and even enjoys his job whereas the second is led by his impulses.


Music Producing

Music producing involves many different aspects revolving around music in general. First there is the record producer, who oversees the recording and manages the production of the music. In the process of recording, there are many roles that the music producer might have. Some of those roles may include coaching the artist or musical group, supervise the mixing and mastering process, select songs or musicians, and also to gather ideas for the sessions. Overall, for music producing, there are many steps to getting the music desired by the masses and the outcome is sweet to the ears. In the novel, music producing is a a major part of the storyline. Bennie and Lou are music producers and their lives revolve around their job. Many of the stories other characters intertwine with music producing at some point.

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September 11 Attacks

September 11th, also called 9/11, refers to the terrorist attack in World Trade Center buildings in the United States organized by the Islamic terrorist group called al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. In the morning of that day, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and intentionally launched a suicide attack into the buildings by airplane crashes. According to 9/11 Memorial website, there were 2,977 people that died in the attacks. The serious economic recession, national tension between United States and Islamic countries arose afterwards. Jennifer Egan regards this event as a time line separating the time before 9/11 attacks and new era of young generation living in the technological world.

September 11 mentioned in A Visit From The Goon Squad
Chapter 9: The Gold Cure
“Sasha was looking downtown, and he followed her eyes to the empty space where Twin Tower had been. [Line 28]

Chapter 13: Pure Language
“This wedges of view had been a selling point back when Rebecca’s parents had bought her the Garment District one-bedroom many years ago, right after the crash. [Line 16]

Jennifer Egan’s Interview about September 11
A Changed City: Reflections on 9/11

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This page compiled by Brittany Mytnik, Alexandra López Vera, Yu Ju Huang, and Kyli Humm.