48 pages 1 hour read

Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1993

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Chapter 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3, Pages 45-84 Summary

In the days after Cecilia’s death, flowers came from neighbors who felt awkward and unsure of how to approach the Lisbon family. Mrs. Lisbon gave up on housekeeping and spent her days in her bedroom, while Mr. Lisbon mindlessly watched football to distract himself. The local priest, Father Moody, visited the family and found that the house was a mess, the girls seemed unbathed, and Mr. Lisbon was unable to discuss his grief. The neighborhood developed a strange fixation with the fence, blaming its placement and dangerous spikes for Cecilia’s death, which led to its removal. The swarms of fish flies died off and the air cleared, and all of this brought a sense of relief to the town but not to the Lisbons, who became increasingly lost in their grief. Mr. Lisbon realized that he didn’t know his own children and wandered through his house at night, unsure how to talk to them or help them. One night, he thought he saw Cecilia’s ghost and ran into her room to close the open window, but then realized that Bonnie was standing there. In the fall, Mr. Lisbon taught “with his usual enthusiasm” (61) but ate alone and was often seen talking to the school’s plant life.