Gender Stereotypes In Middlesex, By Jeffrey Eugenides

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Gender stereotypes are standards enforced upon society as to show what is maintainable, dysfunctional and socially acceptable but it is part of one’s self to choose a path of life with the influence of society. There tends to be a struggle to live by these standards due to expectations given by parents, grandparents, or even idols, although as human beings these challenges are a part of basic human life. By showing the challenges Cal faces due to the discrepancy of identity and the ambiguity of gender, Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex, develops the idea of change by exploring Cal’s gender, the choice of narrative, and Callie’s surroundings because there is an inconsistency in identity and no normalcy appears to be found. In the novel,…show more content…
The novel opens with Callie speaking of how she was born. She describes birth as merely theoretical: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974” (Eugenides 3). Cal never truly felt born as something special when he was first born, he expresses: “not knowing what I was”, rather than embracing who he is, he needs two additional rebirths in order to continue his search for an identity (Eugenides 3). Due to Cal’s need for rebirth, the author demonstrates Cal’s misunderstanding of his own given life in comparison to the life he wants to live. Furthermore, Cal never feels in unison with himself and there is a missing connection between his born mind and body, and later defines himself in his daily life as being…show more content…
The first person narrative allows for the understanding of Cal’s definition of normalcy: “I was beginning to understand something about normality. Normality wasn’t normal. It couldn’t be. If normality were normal, everybody could leave it alone” (Eugenides 446). Cal never identified with the term ‘normal’ and struggles to find an identity. The narrative shows that there are many elements that may contribute to one’s identity, and that it is not based on one thing but on a group of experiences and life choices impacting the overall persona. Not only was it was hard for Cal to fit himself into his view of what was normal, he could never actually find ways to describe his life in society to be anything ordinary: “I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever” (Eugenides 217). Said includes society as he states that “it is better not to risk generalizations(Said 41)” because of the acts of objectification, as referred in Middlesex concerning the limits of a person(Cal in this case). In Said’s essay, he suggests that generalizations in society are made depending on the norms in which they fall. Such as in correlation to Middlesex,

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