Adolescent Suicide In Suburbia Essay

2175 words - 9 pages

Suicides are a grave display of human discontent with life that is especially disheartening when enacted by youths. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures the occurrence of suicides in the country using a ratio that expresses the number of suicides per every 100,000 people in the population for which the rate is being reported. According to the CDC, death by suicide amongst younger groups is significantly lower than those of older groups, yet it is the third leading cause of death amongst those ages fifteen to twenty-four. Additionally, CDC has gathered statistics that estimate suicides amongst males are nearly four times higher than females – 19.95 and 5.15 respectively. Certain studies have even shown that urban dwellers are at increased risk of suicide than those in rural areas. In Jeffrey Eugenide’s novel, The Virgin Suicides, he writes about a group of sisters (the Lisbon sisters) who are basically confined to their suburban home by their overly protective and oppressive mother and eventually, following suit of their youngest sister, commit suicide. There are many factors that may have lead up to the group of girls taking their lives such as a lack of sufficient social opportunity due to their mother nearly completely isolating them from the world outside their home or their exposure to the suicidal behavior of their sister, Cecilia. Furthermore, heir suicides could even be due to a mental disorder such as depression and bi-polar disorder, Schizophrenia, conduct disorder, or anxiety, or an unknown past family history of suicide – even though Eugenides didn’t mention it – but the real reason for their suicides are never disclosed. What is left is a group of girls who both follow and challenge the statistical evidence that has been gathered today regarding suicides; that is, they were less likely to take their own life being adolescents and females, and more inclined to since they lived in the suburbs. What follows is an analysis of the possible explanations for the deaths of the Lisbon sisters focusing on the effects that adolescence, gender, and their suburban environment could have contributed to their fatal outcome.
During the year of their suicides, all Lisbon girls were teenagers. Cecilia being the youngest at thirteen years old, was the first Lisbon sister to take her life and was the only one to precede the group suicide. The fact that she had just began menstruating before her final and successful suicide attempt – her first suicide attempt was unsuccessful – shows that she had only begun to enter the world of adolescence and pull away from her childhood. While the teenage years bring plenty of difficulties and unfamiliarity, it is particularly questionable to what could have been the pivotal factor in Cecilia not wanting to continue on into her adolescence. Being under fourteen years old, an age group with only a .5 suicide rate, which is extremely lower compared to the next highest rate of 10.5...

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