Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
March 21, 2004

Eugenides' Ideas (Dangerous and Otherwise), Continued....

Trying to figure out where to start the story (and how to "end" it....)

There's Paul's 59th birthday...

...we could study him studying HIS origins:

There's metamorphosis on both larger and smaller, cosmic and biologic, scales:

Stellar Evolution and Death, from NASA

Mature Egg and Sperm, from From West Virginia University Center for Reproductive Medicine

But between the telescopic and the microscopic, there are another set of lenses...

...which are the ones I want to use today.
Let's look @ the text.

Looking @ the text, what I saw--through my own lens, as a Christian--was Easter:

Cal's father interrupts his Easter ritual ("don't anyone touch that egg"!?!) to inseminate his mother. His father is also the one who says,

The cultural evolution of Cal's story, which began w/ the blind prophet Tiresias, mutated into the all-seeing Christ:

From Travel in Sicily

In his 3 a.m. interview about the novel, Eugenides was asked, "If you would pick an image that reflects the spirit of Middlesex, what would it be?"

...the only pic or visual artifact that I had to the book was actually the interior of a Greek Orthodox Church. They are very gaudy in many respects, iconography on all of the walls. There's a lot of activity in the same way there's a lot of activity in Middlesex and in all of the characters. There are very bright spots and there's also many dark spots where you have the lamps swinging, smoking and a litany of pray....There usually is also a dome, and across the dome you'll find the Christ Pantocrator, who's transcendent, looking down on the partisans and on creation. In a way, I think my narrator as a Christ Pantocrator. So, the idea of something very colorful and swirling with light, with a dominant intelligence screening over, was the image that I had in my mind, if I did have a single image.

Where I want to start, in other words, is with the role of the narrator, qua narrator, in this story.
Carolyn made the link, last week, between "deus ex machina" and "skyhook":

Ancient History Picture Archive


Or, as Paul said, "perhaps even a skyhook created by cranes ..."

The "skyhookedness" of Cal, of ourselves as storytellers, is only apparent; he, like us, is built out of multiple cranes...

Thanks to Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (via Jessie)

Annie: I am still thinking about the "boxy-ness" or classification of gender....many of us felt that the narration -- along with Cal/lie's identity -- leaps somewhat effortlessly from female to male. It's strange to me because the novel seems fundamentally concerned with hybridity --with the dual self....Eugenides endlessly transgresses boundaries-- he disrupts dichotomies....the book is ridden with metaphors of concealment, or layers of disguise....given these moments of concealment and duality.... I find it odd that we read Callie's voice as so one-dimensional.. as a voice that re-erects those dichotomies that Eugenides continually dissolves.... may be a reason for this that Eugenides is ...parodying gender categorization. Maybe it comes back to this distinction between transformation and discovery....Discovery implies the pre-existence of something which one eventually notices, or finds. Transformation, conversely, is willing reinvention . . . an acted transition from one thing to another. When Callie says, "I am a man!" she calls upon the transformation of the self -- a reconstruction of identity. So while it may seem like a deflection of a more complicated issue, Eugenides may actually be calling attention to constructionism, to the constant creation and revision of gender identity. Identity, sexual or otherwise, is perhaps that blank space which gains meaning only through our interpretations.>Kiev Period of Vrubel's Art

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Church

Le christ Pantocrator

Turkey Travel Planner

From Travel Guide to Turkey

The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Web Site

Monkey Prints

The Bellwether's Carlson Woolies

Skyhook Pictures

Deus ex machina


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