The Virgin Suicides

Topics: Narrator, The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides Pages: 3 (981 words) Published: September 4, 2013
Paper 1 – The Virgin Suicides

Throughout The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides uses several symbols and metaphors to describe and portray the feelings of the Lisbon family. Since the novel is narrated in first person it is important to interpret these symbols and metaphors in an attempt to gain inside meaning from a perspective other than the narrator’s. One of the symbols present throughout the novel is the physical appearance of the Lisbon house. Over the course of the novel, the Lisbon house is described as deteriorating as the Lisbon suicides begin to take place. These signs of decay and neglect of the house, as noticed by the narrators, is symbolic for the change in attitudes and actions put forth by the members of the Lisbon household and the resulting effects of these actions.

“From time to time as we raked, we looked over at the Lisbon house, its walls accumulating autumn’s dampness, its littered and varicolored lawn hemmed in by lawns becoming increasingly exposed and green” (Eugenides 88). There are two important things to take away from this quote, the first being the physical appearance of the house. It is described as damp and littered, words often used in a degrading tone. The description of the physical appearance of the house also applies to the contents within, the Lisbons. This description of the house comes after the suicide of Cecilia, so at this point in time the attitudes of the Lisbons have dampened dramatically, just as the house has. The reader sees this dampening of character through various observations of the Lisbons, especially Mr. Lisbon. He no longer partakes in the neighborhood rituals, such as burning leaves, which he was always so involved with in years past. He begins arriving early to school, and focuses much of his attention on work in an attempt to fill time. When not at work, he is very rarely found outside of his house, instead spending his time in front of the television. Based on the timing and word choice...
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