Redemption is a big part of every person. It's in stories with rising and falling action, in the music industry with the success of bands and the unavoidable destruction of them, and most importantly in people because we all make mistakes and most of us learn from them. Redemption is what made these two stories successful. Without characters redeeming themselves both A Visit from the Goon Squad and Almost Famous wouldn't have been as successful as they were and the viewer would have hated all each and every character. The stories would just be of characters who make big mistakes but never fix them; of characters who never really become anyone because the viewer would never really become sympathetic. In this claim there are several characters who could be reviewed to show how being vindicating makes them successful but for the purposes of this paper we will just be looking at Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad characters Bennie and Sasha, and Crowe's Almost Famous characters Penny and William.
Jennifer Egan is an American novelist and short story writer, who was born in Chicago and grew up in San Francisco (Bio). When asked how she “categorized Goon Squad, genre-wise, in terms of (her) own past work” she responded by saying,
I wanted to avoid centrality. I wanted polyphony. I wanted a lateral feeling, not a forward feeling. My ground rules were: every piece has to be very different, from a different point of view. I actually tried to break that rule later; if you make a rule then you also should break it! (Julavits)
Her book is composed of 13 short stories at work together to make one story, hopping “ from one protagonist to another in a wild relay race that will end with the same characters with which it begins while dispensing with them for years at a time“ (Blythe). Susan Churchwell explains the novel as “a series of chapters featuring interlocking characters at different points in their lives, whose individual voices combine to a create a symphonic work that uses its interconnected form to explore ideas about human interconnectedness.”
A Visit from the Goon Squad introduces the reader to a character at what seems to be a low point in their lives and uses every following mentioning of them to show us either where they messed up in the first place or how they “fixed it” later on. And this is true for virtually every character in the entire book, because of how all of these characters are so interconnected. These thirteen short stories, all told by different narrators, seem to be focused on Bennie and Sasha. Some chapters don't bring either of them up at all but help us to better understand supporting characters who end up being a major influence in their lives.
Almost Famous is Crowe's semi-autobiographical film about the music industry in the early 70's. The main character William is a writer for Cream magazine at the age of 15 when he gets a call from Rolling Stone Magazine asking what he'd like to do a piece about. The night before...