The school holds a "Day of Grieving" so that the students can reflect and move forward from the death of Cecilia, including the addition of a fraudulent social worker. The Lisbon girls don't participate, but instead shut themselves in the bathroom. The boys recall their conversations with Lux's "smoke friends" and the teachers, project partners and observers of the other Lisbon sisters. Autumn is almost over, and the Lisbon girls take a turn for the better, by eventually opening up to the new social worker. Trip asks Mr. Lisbon to take Lux to homecoming, a brash move on his part. Mrs. Lisbon agrees, but only if Trip finds dates for all the other girls, and they all go together.
The fake social worker is an interesting addition to the plot: "A year later, after the rest of the suicides, she disappeared without a word. Her degree in social work turned out to be fake, and no one is sure if her name was really Lynn Kilsem" (Eugenides 138). To me, it's ironic. The one person that the girls could confide in turned out to be unreliable, and "fake", thus furthering the feeling of isolation and flimsiness in the structure of their world. I think the fake social worker symbolizes the apathy of most people, and the mask that they hide behind. I don't know whether to dislike or like Mrs. Kilsem.
The idea of the girl's "first date" has began to sprout. Many girls under more lenient family rules would most likely have had some experience with the opposite sex by fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen. Not Boonie, Mary or Therese however, and Lux too hadn't been on any formal dates or dances. It's arguably one of the biggest All-American rites of passage: the homecoming dance. I'd feel excited for the girls if I didn't know about the mediocre/disappointing/boring/uninteresting/heart-breaking night that is in store for each one of them respectively. As with most cases, "It's difficult to say what the date meant to the girls" (Eugenides 149). I love the third-party commentary from the boys. This book would be in danger of coming across as another typical hormonal cryfest if it was told in first person from one of the girls. It would still be a good story, but there would be no mystery, no secrets. The boys have a way of making even the average teenager's thought seem so surreal and so important. We don't know anything about the thought-track of the four Lisbons, and that's what makes it so interesting.
Hybridization: Cross-breeding two or more species. Mrs. Huntington saved her crop of plants by cross-breeding them. Irrelevant to the story.