Friday, March 11, 2011


The fence becomes eradicated, as the neighbourhood continues to cleanse the death of the youngest Lisbon from their minds. The boys go over the the Lisbon house to clean all of the dead fish flies off of the grieving home. We also get into the mind of Mr. Lisbon, and his quiet despair and guilt, as his duty as a father leaves his mind. His life begins to break down. Paralleled, are the lives of the girls that return to school "as if nothing happened". While the other sisters hide away from all outside contact, Lux becomes more immoral and social with boys her age.

Eugenides continues to make a strong commentary on parents. A line I can really relate to is: We realized that the version of the world they rendered for us was not the world they really believed in, and that for all their caretaking and bitching about crabgrass they didn't give a damn about lawns" (Eugenides 68). This reminds me of the first time I heard my parents swear, or saw them wearing mismatched socks, or intentionally forget to pay the parking meter because they were "only going to be a minute". Parents try so hard when we're younger to guide us in the right direction, that when we finally grow up and their mask of perfection is taken off, it can come as quite a shock to us. It can be confusing, as a child to witness your parents being hypocritical, and in my own house, I don't think I saw my parents doing any "bad" things until I was a young adult. It also recalls me back to the time that one begins to speak to their parents on a adult level, as opposed to the adult/child relationship you're so used to. The boys have just reached he stage in which they realize that their parents are imperfect adults, with wants and needs and cares just like everybody else.

The fish flies that spoil the neighbourhood are a symbol for the haunting feeling that has been placed over the community after the suicide. Again, there is a lot of cleansing going on: "Using kitchen brooms, we swept bug from poles and windows and electrical lines. We stuffed them into bags..carpeting our swimming pools, filling our mailboxes" (Eugenides 69). I don't remember where I heard this quote, but it reminded me of this situation: "But it is a quick fix. A bandaid on a raw spot." To me, this cleansing of the neighbourhood, is only a quick fix, a way to cover up the actual problem that lies in the Lisbon household. Unfortunately, people are much happier to ignore a problem and cover it up, then face the problem head on and address it, especially if they are one of the causes of the problem. No one wants to acknowledge that Cecilia was depressing and upset, and it might have been somebodies' fault.

Mr Lisbon continues to search for answers within his household, without really searching at all. He catches Therese in the kitchen, comfort eating and "at that moment Mr. Lisbon had the feeling that he didn't know who she was, that children were only strangers you agreed to live with" (Eugenides 73). I have decided that I would recommend this book to anyone who parents teenagers. This commentary is so real and so relatable. Mr. Lisbon, in his guilt and grief realizes that he doesn't really know any of his daughters at all. In a way, this could be very specific to the role of the father. Earlier, Eugenides mentions that he would have loved to have boys, instead of five girls. I think fathers are afraid of their daughters, scared of subjects such as sex, growing up and becoming a woman. One could even go as far as to say that men do not understand women, and are intimidated by their presence, and with a mother as unfeminine and unsympathetic as Mrs. Lisbon, who will fathom the Lisbon girls?

Words Researched:
Regimental: To do with a regiment in a military; Chase held the broom like he was in the military. It is his duty to clean the house.
Crenellations: The battlements of a castle; Mr Lisbon describes the retainer he finds in the bathroom as a castle. The retainer belonged to one of the boys that was at the party. We see Mr. Lisbon bask in the unfairness of the world, knowing that the retainer belongs to a boy who is still alive, unlike his Cecilia. The other family has this "castle" while he has nothing. He throws the retainer out instead of returning it, almost like he's spiteful, and trying to balance the equality of the situation.
Rebuke: Express criticism and disproval. Mr. Lisbon sees what he thinks is the ghost of Cecilia, he is unsure whether he should ask her forgiveness or criticize her actions. Before he can decide what to do, the ghost of Cecilia turns out to be Bonnie, wrapped in a sheet.
Fissures: A narrow opening made by cracking or splitting. The boys feel the fissures on their mouth, even though they haven't had braces since they were younger. The remembrance of the horrors of dentistry is very relatable.
Geodesic: Relating to the shortest point between A and B. Mr. Lisbon begins talking to his plants, hanging from geodesic panes.
Aeneas: An elusion to the story of the Trojan leader who went on a journey, specifically to the underworld to see the dead. The boys compare the remaining Lisbon sisters to this character, blessed with knowledge and experience beyond their years and experiencing tragedy that people their age should never see.

1 comment:

  1. Great theme-searching: what do you think Eugenides us saying about parenting?