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aaclh's picture

eugenides' middlesex threads:


I immediately thought of this when someone talked about the human vs machine thread:

At one point Callie says: “it's possible for me to chart my life in relation of the styling features of his long line of Cadillacs. When tail fins disappeared, I was nine; when power antennas arrived, eleven. My emotional life accords with the designs too. In the sixties, when Cadillacs were futuristically self-assured, I was also self-confident and forward-looking. In the gas-short seventies, however, when the manufacturer came out with the unfortunate Seville – a car that looked as though it had been rear-ended – I also felt misshapen.” p 253

Also, taking threads more literally: I love the part when Eugenides uses thread to tie bits of the story together starting on page 63. He starts with the Chinese legend of the princess who discovers how long a silkworm's cocoon is, then compares Cal's story to a thread and finally describes the boat leaving the dock with all of the threads of yarn trailing behind it. I think something Eugenides does well is tie everything together, even seemingly unrelated little things like thread.

The importance of gender (p 118) in Callie's family shows when trying to determine the sex of Lina's baby: Theodora (Tessie, Tess).
“Tell me it's a girl.”  “You don't want a girl. Girls are too much trouble. You have to worry about them going with the boys. You have to get a dowry and find a husband - “ ... “A daugher you'll fight with.” “A daughter I can talk to.' “A son you with love” ... “Start saving money ... Lock the windows... Get ready to fight... Yes. A girl.”

I think this part is important but I can't say why really. When Desdemona starts work for the church and is being interviewed. “But what you is? Greek, Turkish, or what? Again Desdemona hesitated. She thought about her children. She imagined coming home to them without any food. And then she swallowed hard. 'Everybody mixed. Turks, Greeks, same same.'” I couldn't believe Desdemona said this because it seemed so unlike her – she was normally so stubborn. Yet somehow the thought of her children got her to say this. I think she had to be really brave to say this. Yet maybe she was a coward for giving in and saying what the woman wanted to hear. But really, I think it took a lot for her to say this. I think this is one of those tricky areas that feminism has to deal with.


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