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The Virgin Suicides

            The Virgin Suicides is a story of five beautiful young girls in 1960's suburbia. These young girls, living a sheltered and modest existence, are drastically affected by their youngest sister's suicide attempt, with the only explanation being, "You haven't been a thirteen year old girl." After this attempt, a psychologist suggests that the girls maintain a stronger social relationship, one particularly involving boys. And in an attempt to prevent further incident, mother and father plan a party with several neighborhood boys.
             During this party, the youngest sister of the five brutally kills herself by jumping out a window and onto the spike of a landscaping fence in front of their home. Blah Blah Blah's dead body is witnessed by all five guests and her entire family. Following this family tragedy, the community looks to the house and the family for any sign of instability. This inward gaze on the house and the family is continued through the movie and through the older sister, Blah blah Blah's, promiscuous behavior.
             This gaze is further peaked when the school's most popular boy expresses interest in taking Blah blah Blah and her sisters to the homecoming dance. This is met with sincere disapproval from the mother; but after discussion, it is decided that the girls can all go and are restricted with severe punishment for breaking any rules. Despite their threats, Blah blah Blah still breaks the rules and returns home early the next morning, after having sex with her date.
             This disobedience is met with the complete isolation of the girls from any sort of male counterpart. The girls" attempt at independence then continues with their cryptic messages to and from the boys via telephone and, once again, visual signals to the outside world from the mysterious interior of their home. And this is where the most influential and central scene takes place. In this paper, I will attempt to demonstrate, through discussion of nineteen scenes, that director Sophia Coppola upheld the common scopophilic and cinematic gaze throughout The Virgin Suicides.

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