Study Guide

Middlesex Book 1, Chapter 2

By Jeffrey Eugenides

Book 1, Chapter 2


  • We get a little more background info on Cal before he tells us the history of his grandmother, Desdemona Stephanides. What a name! With a name like that, you know this is going to be a good tale.
  • She lives on Mount Olympus. Yes, that Mount Olympus. We're not sure if Aphrodite lives next door, but she may as well.
  • Desdemona is a silk worker and has her own menagerie of silkworms.
  • Meanwhile her brother Eleutherios (we'll just call him Lefty, like Cal does) has a fantasy of being a gangster type. He hangs out at hookah bars and gambles the day away.
  • Desdemona wants her brother to find a nice gal, so she tries to hook him up with some of the girls in the village.
  • Those girls just don't do it for him, though. Lefty jokes that he should just marry Desdemona. "You're my third cousin, too. Third cousins can marry" (1.1.101).
  • Matchmaking has to be put on hold, however, as Turkey is invaded by Greece and a war breaks out.