Analysis of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

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  • Topic: Jeffrey Eugenides
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Linsay Gonzalez
Mrs. Bean
AP English, Period 4
02 January 2010


“Poseidon, enraged, caused Mino’s wife Pasiphae to be smitten with love for a bull. How the child of that union, Asterius, came out with a bull’s head attached to a human body…The Minotaur appeared…He growled; drums pounded; chorus girls screamed and fled. The Minotaur pursued, and of course he caught them, each one, and devoured her bloodily, and dragged her pale, defenseless body deeper into the maze” (Minotaurs, 108). - Allusion

Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. His father was American but his grandparents were Greek and his mother was from Irish decent. He drew some of his own experiences and incorporated them into the novel to make it more realistic and credible (Keenan). There are a lot of similarities between the main character and Eugenides like both attended public school and then transferred to private. They both state that they attended to Stanford and as older men they fall in love with a Japanese-American woman (Bloomsbury). A remarkable connection is the Obscure Object. In an interview, Eugenides remarks that during college he and his friend were in love with a mysterious woman and they named her the Obscure Object (Weich). As a fourteen year old, Callie has a crush on a classmate whom she also calls the Obscure Object and she is the cause of Callie’s life to finally spiral out of control. Eugenides admits to placing himself in Callie’s shoes in order to make the next step (Weich). Imagery: It is 1922 and the Turks have invaded Greece. They take over Smyrna and are destroying everything in their path without compassion. Coming back from delivering a baby, “it didn’t occur to Dr. Philobosian that the twisted body he stepped over in the street belonged to his younger son. He noticed only that his front door was open. In the foyer, he stopped to listen. There was only silence…Toukhie was sitting in the sofa, waiting for him. Her head had fallen backward as though in hilarity, the angle opening the wound so that a section of windpipe gleamed…Dr. Philobosian took a step and slipped, then noticed a trail of blood leading down the hallway… He followed the trail into the master bedroom, where he found his two daughters…Rose’s hand reached out toward her sister as though to adjust the silver ribbon across her forehead” (An Immodest Proposal; 60-61). The images it describes are gruesome and despairing. Just the idea of him not knowing that he stepped over his son without recognizing him is unbearable. This passage expresses a disturbing and melancholy tone. Disturbing because of the cold blooded way the soldiers killed them and melancholy because the doctor lost every single person he loved. Diction: Callie is spending a week with the Obscure Object in her summer home and during the night, instinct and desire take over her, motivating her to experiment with the emotions she’s been feeling. As she approaches the Obscure Object she reminiscences, “tiny muscles in my flank, muscles I hadn’t known I possessed, suddenly made themselves available. They propelled me millimeter by millimeter across the sheets. The old bedsprings gave me trouble. As I tried nonchalantly to advance, they called out ribald encouragement. They cheered, they sang. I kept stopping and starting” (The Gun on the Wall; 383). This passage contributes to theme. Callie thinks she is discovering her sexuality but she is really discovering her gender identity. The diction gives a tone of amusement and self-discovering. Syntax: When the Turks invaded Greece in 1922, they not only ransacked, raided, and vandalized the city but they also burned everything in their path. The omniscient Calliope points out that “the smell of things burning that aren’t meant to burn wafts across the city: shoe polish rat poison, toothpaste, piano strings, hernia trusses, baby cribs, Indian clubs. And hair and skin. By this time, hair and skin”...
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