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Middlesex

Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Fate and Free Will

Calliope Stephanides may have been named after one of the Muses, but as we watch her life unfold in Middlesex, it's the Fates that seem to be guiding her path from childhood to adulthood and male t...

Gender

A book called Middlesex just has to deal with issues of gender. It's not Essex or Wessex or Sussex: it's freaking Middlesex. Born intersex with primarily male features but raised female, Cal is rig...

Family

If you've seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding or ordered a gyro at your local Greek sandwich shop, you know that Greeks are not only big into family archetypically speaking, they're just big families. An...

Sex

Whether or not you want to think about it, your family wouldn't exist were it not for sex. Middlesex is a novel about generations, kind of like the parts of the Bible where someone begat someone, a...

Love

It's pretty hard to concisely summarize the plot of Middlesex, but one way to boil it down would be to call it an epic quest. It's Greek, after all, and they love their quests. The characters of Mi...

Old Age

In a family epic like Middlesex the characters age and grow old every time we turn a new page. The young lovers Lefty and Desdemona are swinging young newlyweds on one page (it's hard to imagine so...

Mortality

We talked about old people in the part of this section focused on old age, but we didn't address this one critical issue: old people die. Well, everyone dies at some point, whether they're old or n...

Wealth

America in the early part of the 20th century was a place rife with wealth, and the wealth was growing. While Lefty and Desdemona aren't living a life on par with Leonardo DiCaprio's Gatsby in Midd...

Race

It's easy to just lump race into black and white and a few things in between and on either side. But we're talking about race here, not Oreo cookies, and one of the things Middlesex does is remind...

Religion

We only see Cal go to church a couple of times, but religious beliefs permeate throughout Middlesex. And, like everything in this book, it all starts with his grandparents, especially Desdemona. Sh...

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