During the course of the book so far, the main focus has been on the early childhood of Cal while explaining the history of his family. In the beginning, “as a baby, even as a little girl, I possessed an awkward, extravagant beauty” (Eugenides 218). Calliope was a masterpiece comprised of all the right pieces. “No single feature was right in itself and yet, when they were taken together, something captivating emerged” (Eugenides 218). To the naked eye she seemed perfect, but beneath her skin was something having second thoughts (Eugenides 218). Cal was raised as any girl was lace, skirts, ribbons, ruffle dresses, pink, and all the other girly things, which Cal didn’t like (Eugenides 224). Her lifestyle was definitely that of a girl, whether she liked it or not. Every now and then the book jumps to present time to discuss what is going on Cal’s life. The changes with Cal began young, but they were unable to be seen with simply observations. I think that the change really begins when she moves onto Middlesex and meets Clementine Stark. The relationship between them was out of curiosity, but I feel it is definitely an important milestone in Cal’s transformation. I’m sure everyone has practiced kissing at some point in time, but the kissing between them evolved from that to more. With this kiss, Calliope felt everything else in the word going silent as their lips touched (Eugenides 264). However, Calliope knew something wrong with the situation because when she told her mom about her new friend, she didn’t mention the kiss. During their first experience of kissing, Clementine mentions to Calliope, “you’re the man” (Eugenides 265). It is ironic to me how her new friend, Clementine, is able to make this statement. I believe that this is the first obvious indicator or something taking place.
The next part of the book begins to reflect on the physical changes that begin to take place within as Calliope grows older. At this time Calliope is still identifying with her sex and gender as a GIRL. As she grew, so did her beauty. This was apparent to all. She spent a lot of time checking herself out in the mirror. Calliope measured how girly she was by how pretty she was. Many teens go through periods where they try overly hard to make their selves look pretty, but more importantly feel pretty. Only problem she was having was the fact that her breast weren’t growing. It seemed that all the other girls where more developed than her and because of this she felt as if she was being left out. She still didn’t have any body hair like Beverly Maas’s. Up until this point, she felt that she was the IT girl, but once the other started developing and she stayed the same way, she realized she was no longer that girl anymore. Her mother mad it no better by laughing at her. I can understand how embarrassing that must be. She was already at a self conscious point in her life and her mother laughed in her face. I think a lot of young girls go through this period in their lives, where they are waiting to develop like the other girls. Puberty is the most awkward time for anyone, especially for girls.
There was one thing that couldn’t be seen from the outside. “Two testicles squatting illegally in their inguinal canals” (Eugenides 294). As straighten her teeth with braces, the genetic predisposition was getting more crooked (Eugenides 294). What she thought she was changing and there was nothing she could do about it. As an 8th grader she had a mustache and was nowhere close to the average height of a girl her age. She measured in at 5ft 10in. things only began to get weirder from there on out.
Cal has something special, the ability “communicate between the genders, to see not with the monovision of one sex but in the stereoscope of both” (Eugenides 268). However, even with this, it is clear that even after all the years; he still isn’t completely comfortable with the body he is in. When he goes away with Julie, he makes sure that they have separate rooms. He won’t even allow anyone to get close enough to him to the point of trying spend life together. It’s simply over before it begins.
I would like to use some of this in my final essay…