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24 January 2009 @ 01:41 pm
the virgin suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides - up to page 201  
The Virgin Suicides - Discussion Post #3



→ What was your reaction to the post-dance lock down imposed by Mr & Mrs Lisbon on their daughters? Do you think it was fair? Do you thing it was expected? What do you think was running through the girls minds?
→ How did you perceive Lux's behaviour? From what we know, do you think it's her way of acting out against her parents rules, or is it her own way of coping with the events that have occurred?
→ During this part of the book, the narrators as boys finally come to interact with the Lisbon girls. How important do you think this interaction is when considering the role these girls played in their lives even after their deaths?

Remember there will be spoilers in comments but if you've read it before remember to only talk about UP TO PAGE 201!

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White Ribbon: [celeb] - KS 006sophierochelle on January 24th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
What was your reaction to the post-dance lock down imposed by Mr & Mrs Lisbon on their daughters? Do you think it was fair? Do you thing it was expected? What do you think was running through the girls minds?

I was not really surprised by the post-dance lock down to be honest, especially since Lux came home past curfew. I don't think that it was really fair, I think that maybe Lux should have been punished, like grounded or something, but to punish the other sisters when they didn't really do anything wrong was out of line in my opinion. I think the girls would have been confused. One minute they are not allowed to socialise and then they are allowed to and they are so happy and within a blink of an eye it's taken away from them again. I don't think that it probably shocked them though. It seems like it was an obvious thing that Mrs. Lisbon would do.

How did you perceive Lux's behaviour? From what we know, do you think it's her way of acting out against her parents rules, or is it her own way of coping with the events that have occurred?

I think her behaviour is probably quite normal for what she has gone through. I think that it's partly her acting out against her parents rules and also her way of coping with the events that have occurred. She's so sheltered and all she wants is to experience the same things that every other teenager experiences. She just wants to be 'normal'.

During this part of the book, the narrators as boys finally come to interact with the Lisbon girls. How important do you think this interaction is when considering the role these girls played in their lives even after their deaths?

I think that it is quite important. I think that the boys gave the girls some 'normalcy' and for a few hours in their life they were able to be care free and really enjoy life for what it truly is.
christinepadfoot on January 27th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
I think that the boys gave the girls some 'normalcy' and for a few hours in their life they were able to be care free and really enjoy life for what it truly is.

i totally agree. i think the interaction with the boys, was kinda "an escape route" for them from the house and the craziness with their mother. even though the interaction isn't long, it allowed them to enjoy life even if their last moments.
Cathy: Enchanted ll Photographfunbol on January 24th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
I had actually planned on making a comment at the end, saying I didn't understand why the oldest of the girls (Therese, I think?) would kill herself if she was going to college the next year. She'd be free then, no longer having to worry about home (providing she would be allowed to go of course) but then the author inserts this:

We mention this now only to show that even college students, free to booze and fornicate (lol! That really made me laugh, are all college students in America as they're pictured in the movies?), bring about their own ends in large numbers.

He beat me to it. Explaining that even in college the girls might have been depressed and/or suicidal. He might have expected such a reaction which again shows how very cleverly written this whole thing is. I love the eloquence and the way everything's described. The language is just so rich.

The character I dislike the most is Mr Lisbon. Simply because I view him as weak, not being able to speak for himself or stand up for his daughters. He clearly doesn't always agree with the way Mrs Lisbon runs things yet he keeps quiet. He's a coward and I think that ultimately the suicide of the girls should be put on him.

Another thing that's hard for me to understand is how the mother is capable of locking the girls up like that. Not just morally, but in the literal sense. How can she keep 4 healthy teenagers locked up for such a period of time? Shouldn't they be in school? And if home-schooled, don't you at least have to provide some kind of proof you are in fact home schooling them? No social worker stops by, even though the house is obviously nearly falling apart. Lawns are untended, the entire house uncared for but no one seems to think to actually do something about it.

It bugs me that everyone just watches the entire household deteriorate and no one is taking action.
christinepadfoot on January 27th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
you make a good point, i thought the lockdown was kinda crazy in a literal sense like you said, no one really took notice, and no one really did anything. and realistically that wouldn't be able to happen, i completely agree, how can a household deteriorate and go unnoticed?
i'm not really a waitress...raiindust on January 31st, 2009 09:14 am (UTC)
The character I dislike the most is Mr Lisbon.
I wish I could dislike him. I really do, but instead all I feel is absolute pity for him, because he just, seems to be another form of emptiness. A vast nothing-ness. His role is perceived so much more than that of Mrs. Lisbon, because the Narrators have interacted with him - but I think that in the end, Mrs. Lisbon might be the poison within the household - yet she is the one we know least about. We even know more about the Lisbon sisters than she - but I imagine she is the suffocation of the girls, if we can imply that this is the reason for their suicides (which I actually don't know - and don't ever imagine knowing because of how well the novel is written - we're not supposed to know).

It bugs me that everyone just watches the entire household deteriorate and no one is taking action.

"I covered my eyes with the mature notion that if I couldn't see them, they couldn't see me" - Edie, Diary of a Crush

She said it better than I could have, in all honesty, I think it was a case for most people that ignorance is bliss. Its the 1970s, suburbia America, social awareness and action taking might not have been on their agenda - I can imagine the housewives gossiping, the husbands spending their evenings drinking beer and maybe mentioning it in passing while watching a football game, but I think perhaps the point is that only the children wanted to see this happen, wanted to watch with their eyes wide open, where as their parents were watching with eyes wide shut.
Cathy: Cookies!funbol on January 31st, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I just can't pity him, no matter how I try. I understand that it's probably Mrs Lisbon who's poisoning everyone else but there's always something he could've done. He chose to be the way he is, submissive and never standing up for himself or his daughters. Often times he might have been the only way out those girls had, they might've wishes he would help somehow. Of course, like you said, we'll never know any of these things since the author doesn't want us to know.
christinepadfoot on January 27th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
i thought that the lockdown post-dance was mainly imposed by Mrs. Lisbon and not Mr. Lisbon. Mr. Lisbon is too much of a coward to stand up to his wife and he probably didn't even agree with it, but scared of his wife and didn't say anything.

i really thought that the lock-down was over the top. like yeah lux came home after curfew, but i thought it was insane that all the other girls had to be punished for it. and in the end all the really wanted was a normal life. the girls must of course thought it was unfair, but maybe in a way they expected it from their mother.

and lux's behaviour, i guess was just her way of coping with everything. the heartbreak of Trip and the lockdown. its like you got a second to experience what a normal life is without strict rules and without notice it was taken away from her. so her behaviour is normal. because when your heart breaks, you react in many weird different ways and also with the stress from home, i don't blame her for acting the way she did.

i'm glad the boys got to interact with the girls for a bit, because in the time they got to interact with one another, the girls kind of "escaped" that house in a way, and away from all the problems. and this interaction did play an important role in the girls lives even after their deaths because they allowed the girls in their last moments to escape and enjoy life, the life they had pre-dance/dance and a bit more.