Analysis Of The Book ' Goodbye, Columbus '

1586 WordsNov 11, 20147 Pages
The Eternal Journey The title of Philip Roth’s novel, Goodbye, Columbus, is symbolic of the journey one must take to define one’s individuality or discover one’s life purpose. Superficially, the title is a reference to the ending lyrics of Ron’s senior yearbook album as well as the physical location of Ohio State University in which Ron Patimkin graduated from. With closer analysis, it becomes evident that the title extends to a much deeper meaning of the overall theme of self-examination and self-identity for the protagonist, Neil Klugman. The title, Goodbye, Columbus, primarily acts as an essential metaphor between the expedition Christopher Columbus takes in search of a westward route to India and the life journey Neil embarks upon to discover his identity both in terms of his socioeconomic status and Jewish heritage. The title both clarifies and foreshadows the fate Neil ultimately realizes as he pursues a relationship with Brenda Patimkin. Christopher Columbus’ main motive of his journey was to discover a shorter passageway to India to trade riches. Similarly, Neil pursues a relationship with Brenda not solely for lust, but more so, as an avenue to identify with the wealthy upper-middle class society of the Patimkins. As Neil drives to visit Brenda for the first time in Short Hills, he realizes in his car that “the hundred and eighty feet that the suburbs rose in altitude above Newark brought one closer to heaven” (581). For Neil, Short Hill represents a sense of

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