Calliope’s identity seems to reveal itself more throughout book 3. We didn’t really capture much about her life until this point in the book. She knows she is different. Her parents have brought her up as a girl; dressed her in girl clothes, and introduced her as a girl to others. She doesn’t realize that she is more than just personality different, her body possesses things that other girls do not have. However, she and her parents did an excellent job at “hiding” these features from the world. She just wishes someone would see her for who she really is, and not as something she isn’t. “Can you see me? All of me? Probably not. No one ever really has” (Eugenides 218). She walks out of the house as a girl, but beneath her visible face there was another, having second thoughts. She was no doubt brought up as a girl. I believe all of the questioning and self-consciousness started in middle school/junior high. She was around other girls constantly. Playing field hockey, going to lunch, and doing normal pre-teen activities. However, she has never been more self-conscious during this time in her life. She was exposed to other girls and their bodies when they needed to change after gym, and she found herself attracted, but sometimes not attracted. During her childhood, once she had moved, she found a friend, Clementine Stark. I feel she helped Calliope with her identity crisis. Clementine taught Calliope to kiss. Another girl. This girl helped Calliope experiment with things she was feeling inside her that nobody, not even her, understood. Little does Calliope know, she is just like any other kid. Kids are constantly changing. They are all indecisive. Every child hides behind a front that they put on in front of their friends. They are either tough, strong, scared, mean, pretty, or any number of other things. Calliope hides too; behind her hair. She claims her hair hides her from the world, and it hides her imperfections. So when her mother tries to remove this “safe zone” from Calliope, she is scared. Once she cuts her hair and fixes up her look, the next thing is her eyebrows, then a training bra. She is trying to be like everyone else. Isn’t everyone trying to be like everyone else? Trying to fit in? Her identity is changing day by day. One day she feels something entirely different than the next. One day she may want to look pretty, and others she just wants to dress down and be herself. I don’t believe that gender has much influence in your identity. A girl sometimes just wants to not put on makeup, and curl up in sweats and just chill for the day eating ice cream. A boy goes out with his friends and puts on an act, then with his girlfriend, he goes out on a date and just talks the whole night. Gender is just a placement in society, not a deciding factor on your life. Every person in life has someone who just “gets” them. For Calliope, during her childhood, this person is her mother. Her mother is always there helping her through it all. I feel Calliope would identify with anyone who understands her, because she doesn’t even understand herself. Every teenager searches for their identity. I feel this happens most in school. Everyone is trying to be strong and be everyone else. Nobody wants to be themselves, because they feel their “self” isn’t good enough. We cannot entirely know Calliopes identity until she knows her own identity. Others cannot know who we are, until we decide who we are.
– I would like this to be considered for my final paper 🙂