Monday, March 28, 2011


As the story progresses, we are are introduced more to the character that ends up being the downfall of Lux Lisbon: Mr. Trip Fontaine. He is the self-admitted playboy of the local high school (made obvious by Heart's "Magic Man", his strutting-in-slow-motion theme music in the movie rendition of his description), and develops a liking (or lust) for Lux Lisbon.

You mentioned previously that Eugenides is perhaps making a statement on the role of parents in middle class North America, and I think the reader can notice this even in the subtle mentioning of Trip's father and unspoken mother figure. Trip obviously has a moderately promiscuous lifestyle, however: "From time to time, Mr. Fontaine passed by, on his way to or from Donald's room, but the iffiness of his own conduct prevented him from questioning the susurrations coming from under his son's door" (Eugenides 93). This quote explores briefly the idea of parental roles. I know from my own experience that a lot of parents struggle to maintain a parental role as their children reach almost-adulthood. Having parents of a straight-laced nature is harder for young adults, as there is no opportunity to frame your mother or father for hypocrisy. If Trip's father, a promiscuous bachelor-type himself, dared law down the law with Trip about ladies, he would also have to acknowledge that his own behaviour is/was/continues to be inappropriate, lest he use the age-old "do as I say, and not as I do" excuse that many parents use to punish their children's behaviour without punishing their own. Thus, he let's Trip have free reign of his own life, something that a lot of parents with normal human vices tend to do, because they feel they cannot say otherwise. Themes of power struggle and control come to mind.

This part of the story seems hazy, almost more dream-like than beforehand. You can almost feel the lazy hindering summer heat through the pages. The golden days of the Lisbon girl's lived will soon surrender to the struggle in autumn, and perhaps a death in winter. This whole story (and not to beat a dead horse, or whatever) is based on the memories and recollections of those who saw it. We already discover what becomes of Fontaine in his middle-ages. Still, he is haunted by the memory of Lux and her sisters: "'You never know what'll set the memory off," he told us. "A baby's face, a bell on a cat's collar. Anything." (Eugenides 100). This is almost a universal statement, or at least I'd like to think so. When remembering the distant past, it's almost compelling how the most minute detail can recall so much information. This story, almost a surreal blur of summer and past love and youthful innocence is so relatable. Sometimes it's nice to have incoherent memories. Sometimes it's better not to remember all of the finer details. Sometimes if we remember everything, our memory does not allow us to glorify things as harmful adventures of past experiences. Remembering bits and pieces allows one to glorify everything as they wish bringing a sort of enchantment to the memory, as the incoherent memories of the boys have done to this story. Does that make sense?

My favourite part of this section (potentially the whole book) is when Lux and Trip have their first real encounter during the school assembly: "As all other eyes watched Hurricane Zelda tear towards a coastal caribbean town, the hairs on Trip's arm brushed Lux's and electricity surged through the new circuit" (Eugendies 105). I love that their first encounter occurs during the mention of a hurricane. It's very symbolic of what's to come. The hurricane (their relationship) is caused by masses of cold air (Lux) and warm air (Trip) coming together to create a storm, and the aftermath, like with a real hurricane, is devastating to everyone in their path.

Another quote I liked was after the pair's first sexual encounter in Trip's car, right before bed check: "It was as though he had never touched a girl before" (Eugenides 110). The way Eugenides describes their first real...feel for each other isn't poetic or sappy. It's savage and realistic. And authentic.

Words Looked Up:
Reverberate: to be repeated several times in an echo. Trip's name began to reverberate throughout the halls.
Krishna: An allusion to one of the dark-skinned Gods of the Hindu faith. Described as a prankster, a good lover and a youthful boy, as well as very popular and well-liked. Trip, tanning in his pool with his head wrapped in a beach towel suits this allusion perfectly.
Tepid: Lukewarm. The sky was lukewarm, unlike the tropical paradise Trip appeared to believe he lived in, as he basked in his pool all day.
Ostensible: Something that appears true, but may not be. Trip makes a visit to the parking lot to polish his hood, when he really is smoking weed.

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