Commentary : Death and sexuality in Virgin suicides
Virgin Suicides, is a novel written in 1993 by Jeffrey Eugenides, an American writer. The story takes placein Michigan, during the 1970's and talks about the Lisbon's girls suicides which fascinate their community. Two groups dominate the novel : the men, who recall their youth and the five suicidal Lisbon sisters. The choice of narrators, a group rather than an individual, using the first person plural is an unusual one. Here men recall a time when they weren't yet fully formed as individuals, whenexperience was communal, shared and puzzled over together. So the narrator is one or all of a group of adolescent boys who obsessed over the Lisbon girls from a distance in their youth, and now, as middle-aged men, continue to try to piece together the girls' story.
The Lisbon are a Catholic family, the father is a math teacher and the mother a homemaker, they have five daughters (between 13and 17 years old). The story begins with Cecilia, one of the Lisbon's sisters, who tries to commit suicide by opening her veins. After the drama of Cecilia's suicide (she tried to commit sucide a first time and succeed the second time in jumping thought a window), Lux, who had a romance with a young boy called Trip Fontaine, and her sisters are taken to a homecoming dance. As Lux missed thecurfew, the girls become recluse and Mrs. Lisbon pulls them out of school. Their lives deteriorate, they communicate with the boys by phone and finally they send a message to the boys to come to the house but the boys find three of them dead. The girls have commited suicide.
We will see why we could say that this text is about the death and the sexuality, indeed theses two notions are very close. Thetwo principal subjects in the book are teenagers and suicides, therefore the atmosphere of our text is dark with the death and the plot is consequently about the sexuality because the book told the story of teenagers and it is a point very important and fascinating in a teenager's life. So we will see how the death and sexuality appear with Cecilia's character, the homecoming dance and itsconsequences, and the adolescence in general.
Cecilia's death can be interpreted like the announce of the others Lisbon sisters' suicides. This passage in which Cecilia tries to kill herself in the bath shows two things to the reader. The first thing is the death : there are blood, paramedics, a picture of the virgin Mary (it reminds us a funeral ceremony). The second thing is the sexuality,Cecilia is naked, and by twice the metal penetrates her skin and she bleeds. When she attempts to her life the first time she cuts her wrists with a razor blade and the second time she is impaled by a fence post. We can construe these two penetrations of the metal in her skin as a metaphor for the fact to take the virginity of.
"He was trying to lift her off the spike that had punctured her leftbreast (…)"(p.30)
Moreover, Cecilia is in love according to the rumor. People says that she wants to kill herself because of a boy : Dominic Palazzolo. We can notice that this boy has simulated a suicide in jumping from the roof of his house (also because of a girl). In teenagers' minds the love and the death are very close. We can also note that Cecilia always wears a wedding dress, her suicidewhich makes her blood flow can be compared to a wedding night.
"Mrs. Patz, whose sister was a nurse at Bon Secours said that Cecilia refused to put on a hospital gown, demanding that her wedding dress be brought to her" (p.16)
Cecilia's attempt and death have for consequence more liberty for the Lisbon sisters. First there is the little party in their basement, and we can notice that this...
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