Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Chain of Being

If the reader observes this story from the viewpoint of a Shakespearean audience (as our class discussed with Hamlet) the great chain of being could most definitely be applied. For instance, the Lisbon girls were dreamers, girls that wanted more out of life. They cast away several social expectations. Cecilia wore a wedding gown at all times, and quite literally flipped off the social hierarchy by ending her life. Lux wore revealing clothes and was highly promiscuous. They engaging in some smoking and drinking, and generally withdrew from the community. While in most situations, teenagers are expected to withdraw from their family and community, these girls took it to the extremes. To a Shakespearean audience, they would be breaking the Great Chain of Being, and therefore chaos ensues. The chaos that actually ensues is a neighbourhood falling apart. The Lisbon girls need to die, and the Lisbon parents have to move away for any sense of normalcy to return to the neighbourhood.

While I obviously don't think that this was the theme that Eugenides was aiming for when he wrote the novel, it is a different way of looking at the events that occurred. I do think he was making a point about community in general, that a society is only as strong as it's weakest creature. When members of society ignore the injured, sick or lonely they will eventually fall apart. The Lisbon girls were gossiped about, but never assisted. Everyone stared at their house, making speculations, but no one dared go over and give aid. This was the downfall of the neighbourhood.

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