Saturday, 14 November 2009

Book Corner: "They Walked With Their Arms Linked"

 
Where do I begin discussing the genius of this literary gem? and which topic do I begin from? Jeffrey Eugenides manages to capture the beauty of a preserved childhood of the five Lisbon girls and their romantic decay These are the illustrated and nymphet-like characters of thirteen year old Cecilia, fourteen year old Lux, fifteen year old Bonnie, sixteen year old Mary and seventeen year old Therese a.k.a The Virgin Suicides. Collected and conserved within the walls of their home by their observant catholic mother, this charges the girls with a mystique that manages to seep through the walls and windows of their home and into the minds of the adoring neighbourhood boys. I find it lovely that Eugenides wishes to re-establish the idea of the muse within the girls, and the distant romance and adoration that is born within the boys heart's. I find that the nature of the relationship born between the long suffering girls and the anticipating boys is a gentile one, but with the event of Cecilia's suicide, the fragility of the girls is enhanced. Mistakenly, it seems that only exterior factors can fracture the girls, therefore they must keep protected. Kept away from all that is normal to girls growing up, there is a desperate need coming from the girls to experience for their own selves. They yearn for their stolen adolescence, and the small things that come within that (a first kiss, a dance, a ride in a car with the window open...). I don't know if a boy reading the book can relate, but as a girl, I could imagine what was happening in those girls mind's and heart's. Their suicides were a lament to the loss of their freedom, to their lost lives, to pleasures never tasted. This, I believe applies to the four older girls, but I believe the biggest message is found within Cecilia and her suicide. Cecilia, a dreamer, an outsider and youngest of the girls appears to have realized something about the world which her sisters hadn't. She remains a spectator to the rest of the girls and the boys that fawn over them. In tune with nature, she feels the pain of the destructed environment, (this is later echoed when the girls protest to protect the Elm Tree that Cecilia loved so very much..), she realizes that the romance and freedom they all dream of will never truly be theirs, as so much of their lives are already predetermined and structured in accordance to the rituals of contemporary society. Cecilia,s suicide can be seen as a sacrifice for the liberation of the rest of the girls, for nature to live on, for things to grow freely. Unfortunately, the girls are secluded, and in their own quietly screaming voices ask to be saved. But all too quickly realize Cecilia's thoughts and decide to follow her way too. All for now x

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