English Blog

Detroit:People:Genes April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 10:58 AM

It is quite obvious that Detroit is a melting pot of nationalities because of the great migrations and work people sought in the automobile industry.  However, this “melting pot” is greatly divided; it is one of the most segregated cities in the nation (this is including Metro-Detroit).  We label these places the east side, the west side, the ghetto, mexican town, china town, etc.  Along with these labels, we associate traits that people acquire just by living in these ares.  In the book Middlesex, Detroit is a parallel to the way people were labeled when arriving to Ellis Island.  “Meanwhile, chalk continued to do its work all around them.  It marked a Pg on the belly of a pregnant woman.  It scrawled an H over an old man’s failing heart.  It diagnosed the C of conjunctivitis, the F of favus, and the T of trachoma.”  (Eugenides 81)  Like how Detroit gives up on people due to their downfalls, Lefty and Desdemona saw this same act of classification just as they arrived to America.  Little did they know how is was a taste of what they had ahead of them.  Looking even deeper, little did they know about the way their bodies were tagging each gene.  And in tagging each gene, and labeling it as something for their body to decode, they would pass this gene on to someone else who will be greatly affected by one gene.  This gene is what is going to cause Cal to be judged and classified into a group of people called hermaphrodites or “freaks of nature”.  Overall, we see comparisons between the significance Detroit has as a place of being segregated and the way every character in this book feels as they take journeys in their life.  It is impossible to avoid these similarities and escape these feelings as they live in Detroit.

Kristen Danyal

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One Response to “Detroit:People:Genes”

  1. Very good, Kristen. You’re right on target. Nice work.

    ~Jenna G.


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