Middlesex Part 5 (402–529)

This final part of the book finds Cal/Calliope running away being operated on, but what Cal/Calliope is also running away from is having to face who he/she is becoming. Afraid of what will happen if he/she becomes something “abnormal” in society, Cal/Calliope finds him/herself confused and scared. The conclusion to this book with Cal/Calliope’s time at 69’s and then the kidnapping and hostage situation continues to allow Eugenides to explore identity and what it really is. We are introduced to the character Zora who in a way is a foil to Cal/Calliope. Currently unable to accept who he/she has become Cal/Calliope struggles with his/her identity. Due to societal pressures to be like everybody else the idea of being something so wildly different from everybody else is terrifying because of what those who are viewed as different must face. This causes Cal/Calliope to pose the question to Zora, “Why did you ever tell anybody?” This is answered with a response that juxtaposes Cal/Calliope’s extreme fear of who he/she, “I want people to know, Cal.” This answer opens up new thoughts and possibilities that Cal/Calliope hadn’t previously given his/herself the opportunity to think. With changing times, maybe it’s possible to be accepted. Not necessarily by everyone, but at least people who truly care and matter. This fear isn’t absolved by Zora’s confidence and support however at the end of the book, we do see it wane tremendously. Chapter 11 comes to pick Cal/Calliope from jail and Cal/Calliope realizes that the people who love her can accept her. As each remaining important family sees Calliope and the transformation she has made into Cal, the fear of being rebuffed by those she cares about continues to disappear. As she meets her mother though there is an initial shock and the sadness of a mother who doesn’t see the person she once raised, he/she recognizes in her mother that she “was going to try to accept things.” The final person in this chain of people she had grown up with and feared the response of is Desdemona. In my initial reflections I believed that Desdemona’s traditional views would make it hard for her to accept who Cal/Calliope would and had become. However, Desdemona was incredibly quick to not only accept it, but to move past it. Continuing to blame herself for the original sin that her and Lefty committed. In the final chapters of the book the reader can finally see the narrator making more progression towards opening up towards other people. Progress Cal/Calliope thought that he/she was never going to be able to make, and was disappointed by the writing being unable to help him/her with is finally made with the reintroduction of Julie into his current life. As Cal/Calliope in his//her teenage years finally is re-accepted by his family, by finally allowing them to see the transformation that he has made, he also opens up to Julie. In the final chapter of the book, Eugenides draws a final parallel between the possibility Cal/Calliope sees as he/she guards the door from Milton’s spirit and as he/she finally allows a new person in. A beginning to the acceptance of his/her identity and what he/she can be in the future.

Words: 534

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