Gender And Sexual Identity In Shakespeare's Novel, Middlesex By Jeffrey Eugenides

Decent Essays

Over the course of the summer I read Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel, Middlesex. The novel depicted the journey of Cal, the narrator, as he struggled with his gender and sexual identity. I found Eugenides’ use of first-person narration compelling because it allowed me to feel a greater connection to Cal, the narrator. Throughout the novel he provided insight on his experiences, while also telling the tale of his family’s immigration to Detroit, Michigan. By relaying stories of Desdemona and Lefty’s early experiences in Smyrna and America I felt as though I gained a deeper understanding of Cal and his family. However, because he was not present during these events, I felt conflicted over whether or not he was a trustworthy, authoritative narrator. He simply retold what information he had been fed, thus I felt he lacked ethos and credibility. Additionally, I was intrigued by the various settings throughout the novel and felt they added to the overall appeal and intrigue of the plot. In the novel Cal described the polarization and hatred of two opposing social groups in both Smyrna and Detroit: in Smyrna the Greeks versus the Turks and in Detroit the blacks versus the whites. This subtle juxtaposition was alluring and allowed for Eugenides to develop underlying conflicts different than the conflicts that Cal and his family struggled with. I interpreted this foil as a means by which Eugenides added his own social commentary to the novel, as he illustrated that regardless of the

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