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aaclh's picture

Eugenides' Middlesex

I think the idea of having three births is an interesting way to view major changes in your life. I want to know if other people have had that feeling, of being born another time. I have never felt like that, no matter how much my life has changed; I wonder if it is a scary feeling or perhaps it is refreshing.

To skip way ahead, I find the last sentence of this book intriguing, especially in light of Woolf's Three Guineas. “'At least it's a woman,' she said. 'Maybe here people won't be killing each other every single day.'” (p 76) [This is Desdemona remarking on the Statue of Liberty in the US.] Are women more peaceful than men? I suppose mostly men fight in wars. Maybe this means women encourage peace more.

I like how this book mixes the serious with the light hearted. For example, on page 63: “great discoveries, whether of silk or of gravity, are always windfalls. They happen to people loafing under trees.”

I think it very much makes sense for Desdemona and Lefty to make up a courtship on the boat instead of just pretending they were newly married. I'm not sure why, but I found thinking about Desdemona and Lefty very difficult and disturbing. It was easier for me, just reading it, to pretend they met on the boat. To pretend they were simply husband and wife and not also brother and sister. I guess this particular social taboo is – for some reason I can't think of – particularly engrained in me.

Tuesday's conversation left me feeling confused, like we don't know anything. I think to some degree this is desirable, but I would like a few more concrete ideas about gender/sex. I guess what I wonder the most after that class is, if the old story of a dichotomous sexed society is inaccurate in terms of genes (there are XXY and X genes), cannot explain why people of XY genes call themselves female or people of XX genes call themselves male and in general is not very satisfying, then what should the new story be? Infinitely many sexes/genders does not quite make sense and I think denies any commonality between people.

I'm not sure what this says about feminist politics. I think something will have to change though since previously feminism dealt with exactly two sexes/genders.


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