Virgin Suicide by Jeffrey Eugenides Themes
The book Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides, explores the life experiences of youths in the adolescent stage, and even talks about the extreme behaviours, they engage themselves in order to escape from reality. It portrays the unhappy times they experience as youths, which causes them to make unethical decisions about their lives. The novel investigates the deaths of five adolescents in America and talks about the life of a typical adolescent in living in a suburb. It explores the themes of love, the tragic loss and the normal life of adolescent youth. The writer talks about the sudden death of the five young girls, and whose deaths are heartbreaking, and looks into their lives to establish what really happened to them, or the main cause of their deaths.
The town the girls are born is full of hypocritical people, and it is in crises. Although the deaths happen in a spectacular manner, the way the narrative is presented is not progressive. As the boys go to school, the girls stay in the house as time passes by making the boys believe that, they are locked up as a result of dictatorial rules subjected upon ordinary adolescent girls
. The boys equate the girls as their sister after reading the book Cecilia diary. The character the girls in the book represent the life of an ordinary adolescent girl, as they develop the notion that they are their sisters. Their deaths can not be accounted for as Ms Perl, is unable to come up with a unique documentary on the real cause of their deaths.
The book purposely brings out the ordinary life of the girls, so as to show how human beings have the habit of distancing themselves from crises. To the girls, the ordinary objects they use to end their lives are perceived by people as mere tools. The writer does this to awake an individual conscience and emphasize that the same situation can happen to anyone at any time. The situation is a special case and devastating. In the novel, the boys capture the deaths of the girls without deep analysis, and at the same time they talk about the times the girls were alive.
The boys do not really understand the girls and the kind of life they lived from an inner perspective. They use their sense of judgment on the surface, to present the deaths of the girls. The only perception they have about the girls is visual, as it does not go beyond their skin and into their thoughts. They describe the girls in a photographic sense, and this is just the same, as having a sketch of a drawing as it lacks details. The boy’s ability not to understand the girls deeply has left them with only memories of girls, who they cared deeply about and loved.
This brings about the culture of visual media, caused by televisions as people view it as an alternative rather than reading a newspaper, and taking some time to listen to news or information on the radio. This has given rise to the idea that families in America concentrate mostly on what they see from the television than the real truth. This shows the extent of influence the media has on the people. It shows the worse kind of life the boys have found themselves in after the death of the girls. The boys have been left with memories that are devastating than the preliminary loss of the girls.
The books portray the hypocritical life Americans live, by pretending to be happy at all times even when faced with problems. The situation depicts the suburbs, as places where happiness is artificially gotten and the unrealistic life one has to go through in search of happiness. The community has been forced to live in a dream to keep up with the social class.
This is reaffirmed by Mr Lisbon actions, in that he lights up the Christmas candles, in spite of the recent death of his daughter, to show the community that he is fine as much as he is hurting and mourning. During the school organized mourning day in remembrance of Cecilia death, it is ironical how the school rates the event as a success without even mentioning her death. They try to erase the memories and pretend like nothing really happened. To the neighbourhood, what is morally upright does not really matter to them.
The hypocritical nature of the American society is depicted by the character Lux Lisbon, and Trip Fontaine. Coincidentally, American happiness is displayed by the characters of Lux Lisbon, and Trip Fontaine. The trip happens to spend his time recovering in Detox, following his decision to live an unrealistic life. .At the same time, Lux immoral sexuality leads to her early death. Trip and Lux’s consistent pursuit of love and contentment takes a negative effect on them physically and emotionally. Equally, the suburban attempts to define American happiness receive a hard blow as it is unrealistic fake, inconsistent and deadly. The book has dug deeper and talks about the effects of living a superficial life.
Michele T Berger, Cheryl Radeloff. Transforming Scholarship: Why women and gender studies are changing themselves and the world. London: Taylor & Francis, 2011.
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