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A Visit from the Goon Squad Commentary

In: English and Literature

Submitted By SReddy7117
Words 736
Pages 3
The world if full of unique things that no one would think about ever doing. Such is chapter 12, the PowerPoint chapter, in Jennifer Egan’s book, A Visit From the Goon Squad. The idea that a chapter can be made out of PowerPoint slides is completely different and original. Each slide has its own mini story to tell, but all of the slides together still make an overall addition to the book. One slide, titled “Mom Spots the Toy Horse,” shows Ally’s desire to please her parents. Egan manipulates PowerPoint through the positioning of text boxes, shading, and text to illustrate Ally’s devotion. Egan uses PowerPoint through the positioning of text boxes to show Ally’s desire to please. The structure of this slide is that it goes from title, to everything in the widest text box, to everything in the middle text box, to everything in the smallest text box. This creates a dynamic similar to that which one experiences when they visualize focusing. The titles of the text boxes help give a quick summary, and a general idea, of the flow of this slide. The title of the largest text box is, “I keep it on my windowsill. It’s made of apricot shells.” This text box is all about the thing itself, giving the reader all of the background knowledge necessary to understand what this toy horse is. The middle text box’s title is, “After Dad and Mom found each other again, she packed up her life in New York and met him overseas.” This text box tells the story of her parents in the past, giving the reader some more information. The smallest text box is titled, “I still play with the horse sometimes, alone in my room.” This text box shows the reader the present, and is the most focused box. As one can tell from the titles, the boxes become more and more focused, and Egan’s positioning of the boxes helps the reader experience this narrowing of focus by going from the outside to the core of the slide. Ally’s desire to please is also shown through Egan’s use of shading. As the textboxes get smaller, they also get darker. Shading shows the reader what is important and what is not as important. This means that the first text box is not that important to Ally because it just tells the reader what the toy horse is. The second text box has some more meaning to her because it tells the story of how her mom packed up everything to be with her dad, which demonstrates her mom’s total devotion to her father. The third text box is the darkest, and it is the most important to Ally because it shows her own devotion to her parents. This text box is the darkest part of this slide because it is the one that has the most meaning to Ally; it is the one that shows her desire to please. It is the one she can most closely relate to. Egan utilizes text to demonstrate Ally’s devotion. At the beginning of the slide, the reader reads, “Mom told me once, ‘We thought our baby might play with that horse,’” and as the reader progresses through the slide, he finds himself reading the last part of the slide, which says, “I like to make that prediction come true.” This clearly shows that Ally wishes to make her parents’ prediction come true by playing with the horse. Although the horse was supposed to be for Lincoln, he did not play with it so Ally took it. She played with it so her parents’ “baby” would still end up with the horse, even if it was not the baby it was for. The fact that making the prediction come true gives Ally pleasure clearly demonstrates her devotion, and proves that she has a desire to please her parents. Egan utilizes PowerPoint through the positioning of text boxes, shading, and text to illustrate Ally’s devotion to her parents. “Mom Spots the Toy Horse” demonstrates Ally’s desire to please. The idea that a chapter can be made out of PowerPoint slides is novel, but it somehow fits this book extremely well, and makes it feel all the more personal because it is in the future and is written by one of the main character’s daughters. Egan has, once again, ventured into uncharted territory and has found gold.

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