Study Guide

Middlesex Old Age

By Jeffrey Eugenides

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 someone named Desdemona as young, we know) and on the next they're doddering old grandparents. They can't stop time. All they can do is use it to take a moment and reflect on the past, and use what they've learned to affect the future.

Questions About Old Age

  1. How do Lefty and Desdemona change with age? How do they stay the same?
  2. Do Tessie and Milton become like their parents as they grow older, or are they different? Does Cal become like his parents when he grows older?
  3. What life lessons does Cal learn when he gets old that he'd never have understood when he was young?

Chew on This

As Cal gets closer to middle age (a.k.a. over the hill), he learns to appreciate the perspective his years have given him. As it turns out, the view from the hill is pretty good.

The thing about being over the hill is that you go back down it. Lefty does this literally when he starts reliving his childhood instead of just ruminating about it.