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ebock's picture

race in middlesex

I've been thinking about the signifcance of race in Middlesex, mostly trying to place it in a context to the narrator or some of the other themes we've been discussing in class. It seems like we see "race" first in Book Two when Desdemona begins working at the mosque, and then again, featuring prominently in the beginning of Book Three (unfortunately, so far I've only made it to page 252, so if there are more prominent appearances in the rest of the book feel free to chime in) with the change in condition of Pingree Street and the Detroit race riots.

It seems like the presence of race in the story of Cal/lie thus far is signifcant enough, but I really can't put my finger on what exactly it could be. Could it have something to do with an "outsider" status theme in the book? Might it tie in with the "rebirth" theme (seeing as the riots were referred to as a "revolution?" [250]? I guess I shouldn't be limiting it to Cal/lie, because it seems to affect all the other members of the family in some way or another.

Also, I'm thinking of how Cal/lie made friends with Marius Grimes; could this say something about how Cal/lie views the world? Could it be that Cal/lie had yet to form social/racial/gender/etc. classifications for other individuals in the world or just didn't acknowledge them/let them affect her relationships?

Milt's interaction with Morrison during the riots is also interesting: "The matter with you." (246) Cal/lie goes on to explain how from there on, her father uses this phrase in so many contexts, for every group of marginalized people who are struggling against the grain: "applicable not only to African Americans but to feminists and homosexuals..." (246) Could this play a part in Cal/lie's identity formation? 

Does any one else have an opinion/take on race in the book? 


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