Goodbye, Columbus Essay

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Brent has a Ph.D. in American culture, specializing in cinema studies, from the University of Michigan. She is a freelance writer and teaches courses in American cinema. In the following essay, Brent discusses Neil's identity crisis.

"Goodbye, Columbus" is a coming-of-age story, in which the twenty-three-year-old protagonist, Neil Klugman, grapples with his sense of self, particularly in relation to his Jewish identity. The event that that precipitates this identity crisis is meeting Brenda Patimkin, with whom he has a relationship over the course of a summer. While Brenda and Neil are both Jewish, their differences in socioeconomic class create the central tensions of their relationship. Neil lives with his aunt and uncle in a lower-middle-class area of Newark, New Jersey, and works in a public library. Brenda is a college student at Radcliff College in Boston, Massachusetts, spending her summer vacation at her upper-middle-class family's house in...

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This section contains 1,811 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Goodbye, Columbus Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Goodbye, Columbus from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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