Goodbye, Columbus : And Five Short Stories Imagery

Goodbye, Columbus : And Five Short Stories Imagery


Philip Roth provides the imagery of a pool to capitalize the distinction between the main characters Brenda and Neil. They come from different backgrounds, and the reader sees how ill-at-ease Neil is through the imagery. Furthermore, the details of the pool's physicality serve to show Neil's transformation over time to become more appealing to Brenda.

Board Game

Brenda's siblings play a board game and Roth positions each of them within a certain niche of the game using their physical bearing. These details provide a basis for the actions shown, which serve to distinguish the gaps in maturity levels of characters who ought to be more mature than they are. Roth's imagery shows how much larger Brenda's brother is than his actions would suggest, and the scene is multifaceted because it is staged as such.


Neil works in a library, and this is the first location in which we get to truly witness how he lives his life. It is in seeing this setting that we experience the way Neil holds himself and how he passes the time. Roth plants imagery in Neil's thoughts; this decision strengthens the effect of the imagery and grounds Neil's character.

Uncle Max and Aunt Gladys' Home

Neil lives with his Aunt and Uncle in a working-class household far away from Brenda's fancy suburb. A key scene shows how Neil eats a typical meal. This scene includes imagery about his body language, as well as theirs; it also gives us a sense of what the food he eats looks and tastes like.

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