48 pages 1 hour read

Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1993

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Character Analysis

The Boys

The narrators are a group of men who recall the story’s events, which occurred when they were teens. These boys obsess and pine over the Lisbon girls and witness their deaths. The boys’ sexual desires blind them from ever really knowing the girls, despite their extensive research and observations, as they see the girls only through glass and from afar. Like detectives, the boys keep accounts, photographs, and artifacts of the girls, even sifting through their garbage when the house is cleared out. The boys collectively represent the theme of The Objectification of Women, which prevents the boys (and readers) from ever truly knowing the Lisbon girls, whose lives and deaths remain a mystery, even to the novel’s last page. The boys bear witness to Cecilia’s and, later, her sisters’ deaths by suicide, which only adds to their intrigue and obsession for the girls.

The boys are naive and curious and have unusual and often misinformed thoughts about the girls they watch. They wonder how, given the girls’ beauty, they could have sprung from the parents they have, and admit to their perversions, like marveling over Cecilia’s underwear or a used tampon in the garbage. The boys attempt to reenact and live alongside the girls, eating what the girls eat, listening to their music, kissing one another while pretending to kiss Lux, and attempting to feel like the women they admired.