Goodbye, Columbus Essay

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In the following essay, Nilsen examines Neil Klugman's attempts to establish an individual identity amidst various societal pressures.

In this novella by Philip Roth the protagonist, Neil Klugman, is involved in a struggle to develop and preserve an identity of his own amid different environments and conflicting impulses within himself. Throughout the story he makes love to Brenda Patimkin and tries to find a role in society that corresponds to what he regards as his own, unique self. In the process he loses Brenda, but he refuses to compromise and surrender what he regards as his integrity. As a result of this he remains mainly a detached observer in relation to the various settings and role models that make up the social universe of the story. Brenda is the only one that he seeks an intimate relationship with. However, Neil does not choose this outsider role solely for...

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This section contains 5,230 words
(approx. 14 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Goodbye, Columbus Study Guide
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