Study Guide

Dr. Nishan Philobosian in Middlesex

By Jeffrey Eugenides

Dr. Nishan Philobosian

Dr. Phil without the Bad Mustache

Dr. Philobosian has a bad life—his entire family is murdered in Greece, and he almost gets thrown off the boat during his escape to America. Milton saves the guy's life, though, because the good doctor saved his back in Greece. Pretty nice, right?

Did you think about what would have happened if Milton hadn't saved Dr. Phil, though? Dr. Phil's the one who wasn't paying attention to Cal's genitals at the birth. If it wasn't for that mistake, Cal might have been raised male instead of female. But how would that have changed Cal? We can't say for sure, though it seems likely we'd be reading a very different story.

When Cal sees Dr. Phil for the last time, it's 1974. Dr. Phil finally takes a good look between Calliope's legs and refers her to a specialist. That's right—it's Dr. Phil, once again, who takes Cal's gender into his own hands. Were it not for him, Cal might never have met Dr. Luce and never run away to California, which means Milt might never have died… oh, the possibilities are just endless. The moral of the story is this, though: even bad doctors can have quite an effect on people's lives… Dr. Phil(obosian) and Oprah's pal both prove this point.