The virgin suicides

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The thought of imagining how the five Lisbon sisters committedsuicide for unknown reasons is disturbing. It is clear that thereading starts with a flashback since it starts by describing thatthe last daughter, Mary had committed suicide. Throughout thereading, it is process through which the first one to commit suicideis described. Cecilia, who was the youngest is the one who ends thischapter by committing suicide by jumping out of her window into afence. The reading is thought provoking and frightening. It isevident from the reading that the Lisbon girls were treated likeprisoners at home and were separated from the outside world by theirparents. This is evident from the statement by Dr. Hornicker whorecommended to Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon to relax their rules. He said thatCecelia would benefit from “outlets where she interact with men herage……she should also be allowed to wear makeup popular with girlsher age in order to bond with them….Pg. 555”. This is a clearindication that the girls were under strict rules and were notallowed to interact with their peers.

The reading depicts a group of five girls who were teenagers and whoadmirable to the neighborhood boys who actually are the narrators ofthe happenings leading to the death of all the girls. Contrary to thebelief that the boys had at the beginning of the reading, they laterfound out that the girls were different and had varyingpersonalities. Lux, who was 14 years old, was only the one whomatched the imagination and the infatuation of the young boys. “….theLisbon girls were all different people. Instead of five replicas withthe same blonde hair and puffy cheeks we saw they were distinctbeings……Pg. 557” This is a statement from the narrator thatindicates that indeed the girls were different.

This is a case of overprotective parents who think that restrictingtheir young teenager girls from interacting with their male peers isright. As the one reads through the chapter, it is clear that theeffects of this form of parenting are disastrous. There are sectionsin the reading where Mrs. Lisbon is blamed for the attempted suicideof Cecilia. “Bonnie was pregnant with Joe the Retard’s boy….Pg. 548”this is a statement that reflects the effects of theoverprotective parenting that the girls went through. It is clearthat the girls were looking for any opportunity to sneak out of theirhome and go interact with men their age outside.

One of the realizations that the parents had towards the end of thechapter is that the girls needed to interact with their malecounterparts. In their thinking, this would have ensured that thegirls were free and stopped to attempt suicide. This is the reasonwhy the parents organized a party, which as stated by Mr. Lisbon, wasto be the only one for the entire year. “….Mr. Lisbon persuadedhis wife to allow the girls to throw the first of the innumerableparties they would have over the next year…..Pg. 556”. This is aparty that was organized after Cecilia returned from the hospital. Itcan viewed as a way of giving her the opportunity to relieve herselfof the suicide attempt feelings. Unfortunately, it was during thisparty that Cecilia, who was the youngest of all the five girlscommitted suicide.

This is creates even more confusion over the reason as to why thegirls were committing suicide. It is evident that the party was anopportunity for all the girls to interact with males of their age andto dance. However, the party seems not to have yielded the intendedoutcome. The reading of the virgin suicides is a captivating storythat is surrounded by mystery of death.


Religious symbolism is evident in the story The Virgin Suicides. Itis clear that Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon are Christians and they also engagetheir daughters in Christian teachings. Religion is symbolized in thereading through statements such “…the church choir dresses….Pg.548” This is in reference to Mrs. Lisbon’s dress which she wore.It is an indication that she was a religious woman and she definitelytaught the five girls to be religious and spiritual. “…the familydrive in their paneled station wagon to St. Paul’s Catholic churchon the lake….. Pg. 548” this is a statement that is a testamentthat religion was indeed at the heart of the Lisbon family. The boyswould only see the girls during their church going time.

The aspect of religion, as described above, is significant to thestory and to the characters. It can be deduced that the religiousaspect of the story is responsible for the way that the parents arebringing up the girls. It is clear that he parents are extremelystrict with their daughters owing to their allegiance to religion.Religion helps to explain why the girls were restricted frominteracting with boys of their age or even doing make up that wasbeing done by girls their age. This can be attributed to theirallegiance to religion. “…he had cried on the day he learned thatBonnie was pregnant with Joe…..” This statement describing thereaction of Mr. Lisbon when one of his daughters got pregnant. It isclear that he was disappointed due to his stand and belief onreligion. Therefore, the role that religion played in the storycannot be underestimated. Additionally, religion played a criticalrole in shaping and bringing out the traits of the characters. Mrs.Lisbon is seen as being very strict due to her religious nature. Sheis in choir and therefore believes strongly in religion. She hasalways been opposed to the idea of throwing parties for the girls andit was only under the request of her husband that she accepted aparty for the girls.