Middlesex is a book all about divide. Nothing in the book seems to be hole, from a marriage that once used to be full of love, to a girl who feels more like a boy, and to two cities, each with a barrier dividing it in half.
Berlin is divided east and west, a physical wall separating them. Detroit is divided by race, a street representing the whites from the blacks, the “good side” from the “bad side”. 8 mile keeps the two from connecting, interacting, and mending their differences.
I think of of the best examples of this is Desdemona’s new job. There are so many aspects of it that I find so inthrawling, from the girls and their irresistible ears, to the fact that they are so ignorant to the truth. But the trip to the area itself is a great example. Des goes to get on the street car, and because of her broken english, needs help knowing where and when to get off. When she shows the address, she is asked repeatedly if she wants to go there, if she is sure she knows what she is stepping into. Even though she isn’t “white” she is not black, so the conductor can not ifnd out what she would want to do on that side of town.
And when she gets to that side of town, she even feels uncomfortable, gripping her purse tighter and walking faster down the street of grumbling, crowded houses. It is a totally different detroit than the side she knows.
But you’ve got to love when Sister Wanda starts grilling Des. “We got a problem. What you is?’ ( Middlesex 144) She wants to know if Des is white, becuase white and black can’t mix. Des doesn’t really understand what sister Wanda is asking, so she replies that she is Greek. Sister Wanda finally approves her though, deciding she is mixed enough to be only a little white.
And that just amazes me. For a people who wanted equality so much, they themselves helped build the divide. A divide that still exists today. Eightmile may only be a representation of the barrier, but that same barrier can be found within the hearts of most of the cities inhabitants. Its a city divided at its very core, and will continue to be.The city is like a mirror that has been broken many times. You can fix the pieces, but you can still see the cracks in its reflection, never truly hole again.