“The Virgin Suicides” by Sofia Coppola tells the tale of the five Lisbon sisters as perceived by the young boys who are enthralled with them. The brothers reflect on the incidents from their teenage years and make assumptions about the Lisbon sisters’ motivations. The audience is, to put it mildly, stunned by the film’s whole sophisticated representation of youth and warped perspective on the coming-of-age genre. Particularly after their deaths, the Lisbon sisters take on such enigmatic qualities that even the spectator is left wondering what became of them. It also raises the question of whether the girls are real individuals.
The Virgin Suicides Author Was Inspired by a Real Girl’s Story
There is no one real person that the Lisbon sisters in “The Virgin Suicide” are modelled after. Although the movie looks like it belongs in the true crime genre, it is totally made up and is based on Jeffrey Eugenides’ book of the same name. When the author’s first book was released in 1993, both readers and critics praised it greatly. Although the novel and its characters are fictional, the author said that he got the idea for them from a story an adolescent girl told him.
As he approached his 30s, Eugenides was searching for a concept that would ignite his creative spark and enable him to pen a book he could eventually publish. He was waiting for his family one evening for supper when he struck up a discussion with the babysitter who was in charge of watching his one-year-old nephew that evening. The author, describing her as “a chatty midwestern girl, seemingly untroubled by life,” revealed that the girl had previously admitted to trying suicide along with all of her sisters.
This abrupt change in their discourse surprised Eugenides, who was also perplexed as to why the girl felt obligated to tell him that information. She lacked a specific response when he questioned them about why they did it. They had been under a great deal of pressure, she claimed. His family was getting ready to head out for dinner before he had time to ask any more inquiries. Eugenides never spoke to the girl again, but their five-minute exchange served as the inspiration for his book.
The author took over a year to begin writing the novel, and once he did, he was forced to confront the difficult concerns that surrounded both the story’s narrators and protagonists. Because suicide is so intertwined with the narrative, he felt compelled to consider another occurrence from his college days. Eugenides mentioned that he had participated in an enthralling conversation after the course on Introduction to Eastern Religions. Later, one of his students visited his dorm and inquired about topics such as God’s existence and the purpose of life. Eugenides failed to provide him with the information he was hoping for or desiring to hear. At the restaurant where he worked the following day, he used a sushi knife to disembowel himself. After this, Eugenides understood—something he had not recognised at the time—that his classmate’s queries had been pleas for assistance.
When writing “The Virgin Suicides,” the author also considered his memories of his teenage years spent in Detroit. With its shifting neighbourhoods, abandoned buildings, riots, and other upheavals, the city went through a lot of turmoil. Eugenides witnessed his childhood home crumble before his eyes, teaching him early on that nothing is permanent and that even seemingly stable things eventually fall apart.
He used this idea and methodology in his book, which is written from the viewpoint of adolescent boys who are fascinated by the Lisbon sisters and the circumstances surrounding their deaths but are never able to fully understand why they committed suicide. By using the boy’s point of view, he was able to maintain the Lisbon sisters’ air of mystery while simultaneously addressing a number of significant topics, particularly in the setting of adolescence.