Middlesex; Part 4 (307–401
As this part of the book begins, it continues to become a more personal telling of not only Cal/Calliope’s life, but also the feelings and mental conflicts that have occurred as he/she grows into the life-shattering and eventual life-building mental and physical transition,he/she will face. He/she reveals to the reader much more about herself directly instead of the previous inferences we were forced to make earlier in the book through his/her narrating. This shift to a more revealing narration is mentioned directly by Cal/Calliope, as he/she refers to the “intimacy” that he/she feels with the reader. Right, before this Cal/Calliope begins to break from the narrative facade of self-confidence. As I mentioned in my previous reflection Cal/Calliope wrote arrogantly of his own superficial qualities. I felt Eugenides included this to show the reader the lack of self-confidence that really follows Cal/Calliope arround. Now Eugenides has the narrator directly tell this to the reader, “I’m not as far along as I thought.” The reader can begin to see Cal/Calliope in a light not altered by a need for acceptance. Cal/Calliope has become “comfortable with” the intimacy of the relationship he has with the reader, and such feels he/she can begin to truly express his/her thoughts and feelings. Shifting to another thing that Eugenides does to this section is another use of indirect parallelism, this time between Cal/Calliope and her own brother, Chapter 11. When Chapter 11 comes back to visit the family, he has changed as a person. Cal/Calliope comes to the conclusion that this was changed when Chapter 11 realized “his life was decided by the lottery.” This idea of a preset and uncontrollable outcome of a life is exactly what has occurred with Cal/Calliope and is the reasoning behind her discussion of genetics. He/she was a part of a long and drawn out genetic lottery and the ticket he/she was given couldn’t be changed. This recognition or choice to believe in an overarching lack of control in our lives can make or break a person. Eugenides recognizes this and uses Chapter 11 as a comparison to Cal/Calliope. By doing this he asks the reader what choice we have made? If everything is decided for us, and we are just thrown into a game of roulette where you may or may not land on a winning spot or a good life, then why try at all? Chapter 11 made the choice to hide the pain with drugs and bad people. He chose not to expect any more than that because to him in the end we can’t choose the cards we are dealt. Cal/Calliope on the other hand while still struggling with what he/she was given in life has tried to come to terms with his/her identity and become the person he/she can. I think this encompasses what Eugenides is trying to teach us with this book. Maybe we don’t choose who we are when we are born, and somethings will be randomly determined for us, but its our choice as individuals to accept our identity and use what we are given to make the best life that we can. I’m really not sure what the conclusion of this book is going to be and I’m really excited to see how it ends, maybe with Cal/Calliope’s complete acceptance of who he/she is, or possibly an open ended ending that asks more questions of the reader.