English Blog

Incest…its questionable March 25, 2010

Filed under: Middlesex — writing4english @ 12:41 AM

In society today, we grow up with the knowledge that it is very innappropriate to have sexual realations with a brother or a sister or any blood related family member at that. Not only is it innappropriate, but it can also cause some very serious genetic mutations in the DNA of their future children.  This is otherwise known as incest.  In the novel, Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides shows an example of an incestful relationship through the narrators family tale.  Calliope Helen Stephanides tells the story of how his family comes to America starting out with his grandparents, Desdemona and Lefty Stephanides. Now what seems to be a story about a brother and sister growing up together and working their way to come to America, actually turns into a romantic love story between the two. Without having parents to take care of them, Lefty and Desdemona practically raised each other. They played together as children and they worked together as adults in a cocoon business. At first Lefty would have never thought of Desdemona in that way even when he would occasionaly see her change.  As they got older and as Desdemona wanted Lefty to settle down with a nice greek girl, they started to realize that the had real feelings for one another, and they decided to pursue those feelings even being brother and sister.

Now normally I would be really wierded out by the fact that a brother and sister were in love with each other, but with the way that the author presented it, I actually found myself being okay with it. They had no one else and were lonely on top of that so it was bound for something to happen between them.  Also the fact that they had to escape from their hometown of Bithynois to hide out in Smyrna away from the Turks, made them a lot closer and made them fall in even more in love.  They even were able to make it out on a boat to America, where they devised a plan  to not know who the other person was, and to “meet” each other, and then fall madly in love like two strangers meeting for the first time.  Instead of getting to know each other, becoming familiar with likes and dislikes, Desdemona and Lefty tried to defamiliarize themselves with each other. (Eugenides, 71-72)  It was the perfect reverse fairytale and they were successful. Except for the fact that they were related…maybe thats just the way the Greeks like it 🙂

-Brittany Cifka

p.s. Jenna,  i might want this in my paper:) or at least some parts?


5 Responses to “Incest…its questionable”

  1. It is interesting how they came up with their plan of not knowing each other and simply meeting on the boat. I didn’t understand it at first because it wasn’t mentioned what they were doing until it was happening. It is kinda like a fairytale and luckily for them it did work out. Not a typical fairytale though, but very interesting.
    -Arielle K.

  2. Its kind of like what i said in my post. By pretending they didnt know each other, they fooled themselves into falling in love with someone else, who wasnt their brother or sister.

    Tyler Staruch

  3. I would have to disagree with being ok with the incest, even though the author did present it in a way of justifying it. but there is no justification, just because they were lonely and needed to depend on each other doesnt mean that getting married was in any way the next logical step.

    Nick Vecellio

  4. i also took the same approach to this. I normally would be totally against it too, but the whole story captures true feelings that two people can have….just because they are related does not mean that they should be forbidden to fall in love just like everyone else.

  5. OK, Brittany. I will let you use SOME of this in revised form. I particularly like the end, with the quote and reverse fairytale.

    Maybe one thing we will have to discuss in class that the comments here brought up is the need we feel to “approve” or “disapprove” of the incest. I think we can probably all agree that we think brothers and sisters should not marry, so perhaps we need to take the discussion of it to another level. If incest is bad, yet we can understand what the characters are going through, this seems different from approving of incest?

    ~Jenna G.

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