Go: A Novel Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the premise of GO?

GO by John Clellon Holmes, portrays an urgent quest for new experiences and a thirst for meaning among a young group of writers and poets in Manhattan in the early 1950s, who came to be known as the Beat Generation. Based loosely on real people, several of whom later became famous, the book shows them in their early days of unformed ideas, drug use, partying, and even occasional crime.

2. What is the significance of Paul Hobbes writing a love letter at the beginning of the novel?

The significance of Paul Hobbes writing a love letter as the novel begins is twofold. First, his urgent and flustered style demonstrates the intensity of his emotional life, which foreshadows an important theme in the novel concerning whether love, logic, or experience is more important in life. Second, it is soon revealed that Paul has a wife, and the letter does not appear to be for her, which sets up a small mystery to keep the reader's interest.

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