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The Virgin Suicides


... someone possessed and her small body giving off the odor of a mature woman' (3) ... returned from the hospital, those two women brought over a Bundt cake in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides
  • Chapters 1-2

Chapter 1
  • Narration
  • Weve tried to arrange the photographs
    chronologically, though the passage of so many
    years has made it difficult (4-5).
  • Perspective of boys in the neighborhood
  • Their memories- fading and deteriorating
  • Subjective (boys observations) versus objective
    (interviews and facts)
  • Boys we versus the Lisbon sisters them
  • Boys trying to make sense of the girls and what
    they did
  • put them back together

Chapter 1
  • Cecilia
  • the youngest, only thirteen, had gone first,
    slitting her wrists like a Stoic with the yellow
    eyes of someone possessed and her small body
    giving off the odor of a mature woman (3)
  • She didnt say a word, but when they parted her
    hands they found a Virgin Mary she held against
    her budding chest (4).
  • She looked lie a tiny Cleopatra on the imperial
    letter (5).
  • Lost in between childhood and adolescence
  • Seems wise beyond her years
  • Mystical, religious
  • Virgin Mary/ Virgin Suicide

Chapter 1
  • Environment
  • the slate roof had not yet begun to shed its
    shingles, the porch was still visible above the
    bushes, and the windows were not yet held
    together with strips of masking tape (5).
  • What house was like before
  • Loss and death is reflected in the environment
  • Progressive deterioration of environment
    parallels the girls

Chapter 1
  • Obsession with happiness
  • Our local newspaper neglected to run an article
    on the suicide attempt, because the editor, Mr.
    Baubee, felt such depressing information wouldnt
    fit between the front-page article on the Junior
    League Flower Show and the back-page photographs
    of grinning brides (15).
  • On the day Cecilia returned from the hospital,
    those two women brought over a Bundt cake in
    sympathy, but Mrs. Lisbon refused to acknowledge
    any calamity (17).
  • Suburbs represent artificial happiness
  • Not personal but a social expectation
  • What is proper is better than what is morally or
    humanly appropriate

Chapter 1
  • The Wedding Dress
  • The dress was vintage 19920s. It had sequins
    on the bust she didnt fill out, and someone,
    either Cecilia or herself or the owner of the
    used clothing store, had cut off the bottom of
    the dress with a jagged stroke so that it ended
    above Cecilias chafed knee (26).
  • The wedding dress bore spots of hospital food,
    stewed carrots and beets (27).

Chapter 1
  • Wedding Dress
  • Vintage, too big, out of place, her connection
    with the past
  • Catholicism Bride of Christ (beauty and purity)
  • She puts it on after a long bath before killing
  • Ritualistic sacrifice?
  • Represents her innocence and purity
  • Stains show loss of it

Chapter 2
  • Cecilias death
  • a creature who in dog years was still a puppy-
    Cecilia Lisbon (35).
  • Cecilia emerged from the background like a
    figure in an optical illusion. She was dressed
    not in the wedding gown, which Mrs. Lisbon had
    thrown away, but in a beige dress with a lace
    collar, a Christmas gift from her grandmother
    which she refused to wear in life (39).
  • First funeral in town
  • No small coffins
  • Represent the unnaturalness of her death
  • Death being confined to the very young or the
    very old

Chapter 2
  • Cecilias death
  • Ruins the perfect existence of the community
  • Not part of the suburban dream
  • Most of our parents attended the funeral,
    leaving us home to protect us from the
    contamination of tragedy (38).

Chapter 2
  • Cemetery versus suburbia
  • Inside, neglect resulting from the strike was
    obvious (38).
  • Cemetery workers on strike
  • State of cemetery contrasts the maintained yards
    of the neighborhood
  • Workers rejection of their labor contracts
    reflects Cecilias refusal to conform thus her
  • Both lead to the decline in the environment

Chapter 2
  • Cecilias diary
  • Instead, Cecilia writes of her sisters and
    herself as a single entity. Its often difficult
    to identify which sister she is talking about
  • And so we learned about their lives, came to
    hold collective memories of times we hadnt
  • Drives the boys desire and curiosity to know
  • Writes as they are 1 we same as boys
  • Writes what takes place in house but no
    motivation or emotions included
  • No answers as to why?

Chapter 2
  • Girls and Boys
  • We knew that the girls were our twins, that we
    all existed in space like animals with identical
    skins, and that they knew everything about us
    though we couldnt fathom them at all (43-44).
  • Contrast between male and female perspective,
    bodies, knowledge
  • Allows them the only insight into the girls lives

Chapter 2
  • Horror of the Mundane (ordinary)
  • Death treated as daily routine
  • Average life and actions creates disaster
  • Implication that the everyday domestic aspects
    are life-threatening
  • This would prove fatal to the Suburbs
  • Must treat it as a catastrophic event so they
    stay safe- cannot be a problem that might be in
    their lives