The boys begin to drift further and further away from the girls. Lux's health is deteriorating; this is confirmed by the men and boys that she meets on the roof. The boys note that they see an ambulance picking up Lux from the Lisbon home; she has stomach problems, and a possible pregnancy. At the hospital, it is determined that Lux isn't pregnant, but she has HPV Mr. Lisbon is fired from his job, and a strange smell starts to emit from the household.
Eugenides mentions that "According to the boys' descriptions, Lux lost weight, though we couldn't tell through the binoculars" (Eugenides 190). This makes me recall the moment that her and Trip first met in the car, and how Trip was overcome by Lux's animosity, comparing her to a hungry animal. While she is still "feeding" on the males that she coerces onto her rooftop, she is still not satisfied the way she was with Trip. She is literally starving for love and affection, and the attention that she's receiving from the nameless boys is not making her any happier; it does give her that full feeling.
Again, more smell imagery is used in this section: "For even as the house began to fall apart, casting out whiffs of rotten wood and soggy carpet, this other smell began wafting from the Lisbon's, invading our dreams and making us wash our hands over and over" (Eugenides 214). Smell is one of the senses that is the most peculiar, the most mysterious, yet the easiest to ignore. This is why I think smell imagery is used the most in this novel, as opposed to touch or sight. Smell isn't tangible; it's often hard to decipher what it is and where it's coming from. Some are able to detect it, while others stay blissfully unaware of its presence. It can overpower and captivate, but is also really nothing at all. Smell is different to everyone; it's also one of the most powerful memory re-callers. If the Lisbon household was one of the senses, it would be smell.
This novel takes place in the seventies, a decade which seems to have held a great deal of innocence and magic. The innocence of the characters in the novel aside, the time period itself is associated with freedom and a carefree attitude, something I believe Eugenides captured extremely effectively in this novel. Even when discussing the seasons, he remains steadfast in his beliefs that the seventies were the golden days, the days of his youth: "The world, a tired performer offers us another half-assed season" (Eugenides 216). Here, of course, he is discussing the present times, his own personal autumn season. It gives the impression that our current world is lacking of the magic and the spirit of the time of his youth. I enjoy the way he adds enchanting amount of nostalgia to this novel; it makes me want to be a seventies child.
I mentioned this before in my seminar, but I see it fit to mention it again. The part in which the girls order catalogues and magazines remind me of the fantasy sequences in Finding Neverland: "Unable to go anywhere, the girls travelled in their imaginations to goldtipped Siamese temples" (Eugenides 219). The power of the imagination and of thought itself is mesmerizing, almost inspiring in The Virgin Suicides. It reminds me of being young, and still having the full potential of imagination. I think this comments greatly on the state of modern children versus the state of children in the seventies, or even a few years ago. Girls as old as sixteen and seventeen are travelling in their imaginations, a feat I regrettably gave up before I even entered my teens, and could probably not find comfort in today. The parallels between the girls' childlike innocence, and their want and need to be grown up (especially Lux) is staggering, compared to the adolescents of today. They can still go back to their childhood, even for only a short while before their death.
Words Looked Up:
Biafran: A person living in the state of Biafra, a part of Africa near Nigeria which ceased to exist in 1970 because of civil war and its desire to be its own country. Bonnie looks like a Biafran, a starving person in a foreign state.