Study Guide

Middlesex Book 4, Chapter 4

By Jeffrey Eugenides

Book 4, Chapter 4

Gender Dysphoria in San Francisco

  • Cal lies to Bob Presto—who looks like Bob's Big Boy—saying that he's eighteen and on his way to Stanford.
  • Presto isn't smelling what Cal is stepping in, but he pretends to believe the kid.
  • When Presto drops Cal off in San Francisco, he tells him that he pretty much knew he was lying the whole time. He also asks Cal, "What are you, anyway?" (4.4.57), but Cal refuses to answer. Presto gives him a card and tells him to call if he ever needs him.
  • Cal falls in with a bunch of Dead Heads in Golden Gate Park, and hangs out with them until two people beat him up and pee on him one night.
  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch (and by ranch, we mean Cal's family home, Middlesex), Chapter Eleven has dropped out of school and returned home. Milton decides to make him part of the family business.
  • In San Francisco, with nowhere to go after getting beaten, Cal calls Bob Presto.