The, Calliope, By Jeffrey Eugenides Essay

The, Calliope, By Jeffrey Eugenides Essay

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Calliope is a fourteen year old who identifies as female based upon the information Tessie and Milton have provided. As Calliope’s parents, Tessie and Milton migrated from Greece to the United States with the intent of creating a better life. They earned their income through their very profitable restaurant: Zebra Room, and amidst of their success, Calliope was born. The biological sex of their child was supposed to remain a secret, instead a medical document was discovered revealing the true biological gender during a family trip to a hospital in New York. Calliope attended an all girls school and consequently, she witnessed all of her classmates’ bodies transform into a womanly figure except for her. As a result, Calliope develops body dysmorphia due to the lack of changes taking place within her body which prompts further questioning of her sexuality. Because her biological gender has been concealed, Calliope feels insecure and confused about her gender. Throughout Jeffrey Eugenides novel, Middlesex, Calliope embarks on a journey of discovering sexuality while battling the pressure of society’s gender stereotypes as a member of the intersex community.
Throughout the novel, Calliope struggles with the pressure of gender stereotypes. At an all girls school, Calliope admires the bodies of a group of girls that rule the school known as the Charm Bracelets. As described in the text,
A year or so earlier these same girls had been porcelain figurines, gingerly dipping their toes into the disinfectant basin at the public pool. On I came, kicking my heavy, padded legs and gaping through the goalie mask at the fantastic underwater life all around me. Sea anemones sprouted from between my classmates’ legs. Higher up, their breast bobbed...

... middle of paper ...

... bodily comportment: women are far more restricted than men in the manner of movement and spatiality” (69). Cal will experience culture shock living as a male having attended an all girls high school and living as a female for the past fourteen years. There will be times where Cal’s action appear to be more feminine which leads to further questioning of his sexuality.
Struggling with one’s identity based on a lack of information regarding one’s gender is a challenge that Cal will continue to face as well as the intersex community. Growing up in pressuring female environment in contrary to one’s male biological and discovering one’s sexuality are the issues Cal faced throughout the novel. Although Cal will never have a clear understanding of what it means to identify as a male or female however, he is now in a position to live a life as his properly assigned gender.

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