Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The life of the street drags on into springtime. The boys no longer watch and wait for the girls to attend their baseball games, as they did many years ago. They begin to forget the girls, and would have most likely let them drift away if the girls hadn't shown interest in their help. The boys begin receiving notes and light signals from the Lisbon household. they eventually end up contacting the girls on the telephone, and after a failed run-in with Mr. Lisbon, get ahold of them. The boys play songs from their records on the phone for the girls, who in turn play songs back.

One of the unorthodox ways the girls contacted the community was to put laminated picture of The Virgin Mary in places they thought the boys would find them: "Hutch wasn't the only one to find a picture. Mrs. Hussen found one pierced amongst her rosebushes. Joey Thompson heard an unfamiliar whirring in his bicycle tires one day and looked down to see a Virgin picture taped between the spokes" (Eugenides 245). The significance of The Virgin Mary is lost to me here. It may represent the girls themselves and their innocence and their need for escape (like Mary herself) or it may just be a token of good fortune and good luck. Hmmm...

Eugenides compares the sisters to the very candles that they light in their room for their sister every night: "Most often she watched the candles as if their outcome held her own, the flames, almost extinguishing themselves, but, by some greed of oxygen persisted" (Eugenides 249). This quote makes me think about who the girls are really living for. It seems as though they are only alive but for the greed of others and the needs of those around them. Their flame is so close to going out, yet they hold on for their parents and the rest of the neighbourhood. I have decided that the girls would have chosen to end their lives much earlier, if they did not feel sorry for their grieving parents downstairs. The candles also represent a limbo, a space and time that serves as the gates between the living world and the dead world for the girls: "The candles were a two way mirror between worlds: they called Cecilia back, but also called her sisters to join her" (Eugenides 260).

I also noticed, after the boys and girls contacted each other, the use of music to make a connection between two groups of people is a prominent theme in the book: "We passed the sticky receiver from ear to ear the drumbeats so regular we might have been pressing our ears to the girls' chests" (Eugenides 256). The boys made a better connection using their music than they ever could do with their voices. This shows how music is a common ground, a connector, for two groups of people who don't feel comfortable speaking their feelings.

Words Researched:
Lilts: A raise and a fall of inflection in the voice while speaking; often thought to be pleasant and reassuring. The boys can no longer imagine the lilts in the voices of the four remaining sisters.
Curatorship: Keeping an art gallery or a museum. The boys are curators over the Lisbon girls. They have their own museum of the girls' things that helps keep their memories alive.
Aureolae: A halo of light, often used to depict someone holy. The streetlights gave off an aureolae. There is a lot of Roman Catholic imagery in this novel, as well as references to angels.
Bordello: Like a brothel. Lux's room glowed like a brothel.
Phantasmagoria: A sequence of dream-like images. The girls have created a phantasmagoria, as they have made a shrine to their sister Cecilia in their bedroom window.

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