English Blog

relationships strengthened April 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 11:53 AM

Each generation involved in Cal’s life show what i feel to be what would have been very typical responses to those generations in their times upon learning Cal’s change to a man. While all three generations, her mother brother and grandmother, showed Cal the same amount of acceptance and care, they all had their separate reasons. Desdemona’s response is almost a relief to her when she realizes that it was Cal in her guest room the morning of the funeral. Immediately Desdemona understands what had happened genetically and blames it upon herself. “I’m sorry honey. I’m sorry this happen to you” (Eugenidies 529). Cals brother seems to enjoy having a brother, constantly joking with each other. Cal claims “it was a lucky thing that my brother had taken so much LSD as he had” as she explained he had a “personality this prepared” (Eugenidies 516). Cal’ mother showed her acceptance of Cal’s change by not having any major changes in their relationship. I feel that through these different reasons of acceptance, Cal’s relationships with her mother brother and grandmother were all strengthened. They all can relate to each other in a brand new and different way that seems to be just as positive as it was before Cal ran away. Everyone except Milton that is. I got the sense that Cal was almost relieved that he didnt have to face the new relationship with his father. I dont sense any real sadness or remorse in any of what she says upon hearing the news.

Nick Vecellio


Taking Pride in the Mundane

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 11:04 AM

In figuring out his identity by diving into the past, Cal discovered that his family members, too, were living to discover their identities. A saying goes, “you pass by your destiny every day.” Cal was so interested in the “Obscure Object” that he tried to convince himself as well as Dr. Luce that he was interested in men. He realized that he was the only one who could define himself.  A red-head from Gross Pointe fell in love with him and it was fate. I’m not sure if this is the same girl he was referring to as the “Obscure Object,” but it seems about right. He became the person he wanted to be and at that time, he could let himself truly love others simply because he did not fully love himself.

Detroiters know the past because it was what once made us one of the largest cities. Detroit can be viewed as an obscure object because people have to kind of tilt their head and squint to see it for what it is. A saying goes, “always try to see the good in life, even if you have to squint.” This is true. The only people who love Detroit are those who can relate to it and those who have grown up here. It shapes our identities.

Cal’s parents cared for him and wanted him to be happy but they could not feel to the full extent what he was going through. At the end of the book, Desdemona explains to Cal what happened and he is content. She apologizes and his response to her is, “I like my life, I’m going to have a good life” (Eugenides 528). He spent his whole life wanting people to know who he was. He began to find variation in the mundane. He says, “I offer the same truism: it’s amazing what you can get used to” (Eugenides 520).

Detroiters are used to Detroit. Whether they are satisfied with it or not, they find variation in it. The bad is not always a constant. I am pretty sure everyone does not walk around with frowns all of the time. We are used to it. we make use of the cards we have been dealt and wait for a new round to begin… a new birth.

Quote of the day:

“The joy of life is made up of obscure and seemingly mundane victories that gives us our own small satisfactions.” -Billy Joel

Lori E. Allan




I can transform ya.

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 10:06 AM

The fourth book of Middlesex basically goes through Cal’s transformation from woman to man. This book reveals many secrets like finding out about Cals real gender to Desdemonda telling Cal about the incest and why he is the way he is from that.  Cals transformation was not an easy one. He had to constantly be thinking like and boy and telling himself to act like one to. “Like a stroke victim, I was having to relearn all the simple motor skills.” (Eugenides 441)  I think that this quote really defines what Cal had to do to become a man. He needed to learn to talk the talk and walk the walk. Cal was always concerned if someone was to start to think he wasn’t really a boy. He didn’t want anyone to find out what was going on inside of him. He had to overdo the whole manly thing. “Like a convert to a new religion, I overdid it at first.” (Eugenides 449) Cal felt like in order for no one to find out he had to play the male role to the tee. He bought a suit and carried around a briefcase to get more into character. Cal explains it best by saying that the swagger he was trying to put on was not that much different from other teenage boys trying to act more manly. I believe this statement to be very true. I remember back in school when the boys would try to act way older then they were to impress the girls. Most people will think the overacting is rediculous but in Cals mind that was the only way to kind of trick himself and other people into believing  he was a man.

Brittany Cifka


family family family

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 9:56 AM

Throughout the entire book, one of the main themes is family, and for a good reason.  The experiences and hardships that Cal’s family has had to endure play a huge role in everything that happens to Cal, whether she knows it or not.  One thing that has never changed in the novel,though, is how much Cal’s parents truly adore her, no matter what Cal thinks of herself or what anyone else thinks.  She is their entire life and nothing in the world can change that.  “In the narrow entryway carved from a former suite, cockeyed, dim, the two of us stood hugging and crying” (Eugenides 438).  Sometimes the smallest things mean the most to people, and the way Cal and her mom stand there hugging as though they will never see each other again is so heartwarming.  Her parents stand behind her in any decision she decides to make and that is true family.  With everything Cal goes through with the diagnosis of Dr. Luce, she needs to have support now more than ever.  Its inspirational to see how her famiy pulls together, even if it means death, to protect each other.  Nothing can replace the love that a mother and father have for their children and that in itself is truly amazing to me.  Her father loses his life essentially trying to save his daughter. I know my parents would do the same for me in a heartbeat and im not sure if i can even fathom that because that is so much feeling to have for one person.

-Breanna Perez


Hidden Anger April 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 10:40 PM

Father Mike wasn’t a prominent character throughout the novel but he quickly became a character of importance at the end of Middlesex. Father Mike seemed to be a calm passive person with a great relationship with God. He was in love with Tessie from the start. And he almost had her but Milton won her over. As time passes, the anger builds up inside of him resulting in Milton’s death. Father Mike symbolizes something a little different. He represents the hidden secrets throughout the novel. Desdemona hides her and Lefty’s brother/sister marriage. Tessie hides her love for Milton for a while until he comes back from the war. Sourmelina gets sent to the United States and married off so that no one finds out about her love for other women. Cal hides her love for the Obscure Object and her genetic situation. Father Mike is still feeling the investment he made in Zoe instead of getting what he wanted, Tessie. “…who married Milton’s sister, Zoe,  instead, a choice that had sentenced him to a life of invidious comparisons, of Zoe always asking why he hadn’t invested in the stock market when Milton had, or bought gold when Milton had…” (Eugenides 504-505).  Father Mike periodically showed himself throughout the novel reminding us of his love for Tessie that still lingered and was kept secret for so many years. Desdemona and Lefty kept their secret until after the death of Lefty and 5 years previous to Desdemona’s death. And the only person that knew about the incest was Cal, who had a secret of her own. Father Mike was a great character in this novel. He represented more than I had thought when I read the ending.

~Alexandria Vintevoghel

*Might use in essay*


Ties within.

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 8:56 PM

In the end of the book, a lot of interesting things are revealed. We realize that anger and jealously can build up inside one man to the point of no return. We also realize that even though those who cannot remember clearly can remember just enough to come to certain conclusions and be forgiven for old sins. Throughout Middlesex certain symbols and foreshadowing are revealed allowing one to assume that these events would occur, but the truth is once they were revealed we never seen it coming. This can be related to how none of the Stephanides ever seen the complications of Cal Stephanides coming their way.  In this book everything ties together in the end, everything relates. Just like the symbols throughout the book relate. Throughout the entire book of Middlesex symbolism is used to illustrate many different points. One example of this symbolism is when Cal finds out that he indeed is genetically a boy. Throughout Cal’s life up to this point, while he was known as Calliope, he kept his hair long. He knew he was awkward and not like the rest of the girls, therefore he used his hair to hide his faults. Once he decided to go along with being a boy, he decided it was time to get rid of his hair. He chopped his hair off, in a way this symbolized his change from going from Calliope to Cal or from boy to girl. This quote shows how much it truly represented his change “And in the mirror I didn’t see myself. Not the Mona Lisa with the enigmatic smile any longer. Not the shy girl with the tangled black hair in her face, but instead her fraternal twin brother.”(445)Hair can be tied back into Cal’s grandmother Desdemona. When Lefty and Desdemona were coming into America, they chopped her braids off. Desdemona’s braids were all she had left from her old country. This symbolized how her life was changing and how her new life in America was beginning. The symbol of hair isn’t the only symbol that can be tied into more than one are. Cal’s suits that he wears tie back into how he hid behind his hair, now he hides behind his suits. A suit is the first piece of clothing that Cal buys after his transformation. This allows him to feel semi-normal. He buys these suits, so as to appear to be male on the outside, when he knows deep down what is truly going on. Cal’s life is illuminated by symbols that help show the relations from boy to girl and help the reader better understand why he does what he does. Most of the symbols and events throughout the entire book of Middlesex can be presented in completely different parts of the book but relate perfectly together and tie in both topics.

-Geri Gabrielson


el libro quatro

Filed under: Uncategorized — writing4english @ 8:55 PM

A series of events throughout the generations of the Stephanides family has resulted in a rare occurence. Cal, who is the youngest member of the Stephanides family has a unique condition. He is a hermaphrodite and lives a conformed childhood as a girl. At the age of 14 he realizes what his true nature is, and runs away. Eventually Cal returns home as a boy, and reintroduces himself to immediate family. When Cal reveals his new self to Desmonada, some critical facts are unearthed. Desmonda confesses the truth about her marriage by stating, “Not third cousin. Also brother” (Eugenides 527). She is referring to her husband Lefty, who came from the same mother and father that she did. Desmonda mentions earlier that it is common for relatives to marry one another in her home village, however it can result in birth defects. Since Lefty and Desmonda both carry the gene that leads to sexual organ disorders at birth, their kids are at greater risks to initiate that gene. It also is proven that incest can greatly increase the chance of birth defects. With further, watered down incest in the Stephanides second generation, that gene is finally initiated when Cal is born. Although this is a very brief layout the Stephanides past generations, it pertinent to Cal’s life.  It is obvious to say that the actions of previous family generations have contributed to Cal’s rare anatomy. If incest hadn’t occurred in the Stephanides family, the probability of that gene to initiate would decrease. Major aspects of Cal’s life are subtly, and strongly connected to his previous generations.

kevin cunningham