A Fatal Decision
Middlesex by Jefrey Eugenides is an astonishing tale of a gene that passes down through three generations of a Greek American family and flowers in the body of Calliope Stephanides. Calliope Stephanides grandparents, Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides, are left alone high on the slope of Mount Olympus in Asia Minor without the guidance and the presence of any parents. Desdemona and Lefty are siblings confused about the truth behind their abnormal emotions towards each other. Desdemona made sure her brother was her number one priority; therefore she took care of the house and the cocoonery, while Lefty was to take care of the books (27). Growing up together, both Lefty and Desdemona were aroused by each other, but they were afraid of the outcome of their sexual desires. Despite the wrongness in their doing, Lefty and Desdemona still get married and have sexual relations. Knowing that they are brother and sister, why do Desdemona and Lefty choose to involve themselves in an incestuous relationship and how does this decision affect their future generations? Lefty and Desdemona are segregated on top of a mountain alone in a very small village where they perform every task together. Due to these circumstances, they pursue to engage themselves in sexual harmony. Because of this fatal decision their granddaughter, Calliope Stephanides, is greatly affected in that she inherits a gene mutation of a hermaphrodite.
Symptoms of loneliness and deprivation possess Desdemona and Leftys minds in deciding to have an incestuous relationship. Their segregation from the real world on top of a high mountain triggers their interest towards each other. Desdemona and Lefty lack the presence of a father figure and a mother. Parental values and guidance are very important in a childs life and without parental directions kids could possibly lose track and make dire decisions. The death of their parents causes unhappiness and seclusion in Lefty and Desdemonas lives. Desdemonamourning her parents, was still imprisoned by the past. And so she stood on the mountain, looking down at the emancipated city, and felt cheated by her inability to feel happy life everybody else (21). Desdemona feels like she is imprisoned in her own village because she cannot escape from the feelings she has for her brother, henceforth, creating distractions for herself. Desdemona spends most of her time in the cocoonery and always remembers her mother saying, to have good silk, you have to be pure (22). Pure meaning she cannot have sexual relations with anyone, and to have sexual relations with Lefty is completely corrupt; the silk worms know when something is right and wrong. To have a good batch of silk worms once must not perform acts of devilry. Both Lefty and Desdemona continuously try to distract themselves from their true emotions for each other. Lefty goes to Bursa and sleeps with women that are reminiscent of Desdemona. For example, one night in Bursa he sleeps with a prostitute while being intoxicated and before leaving the prostitute brings him back to reality. By the way, Im Irini. We dont have a Desdemona here (32). Another reason for Leftys trips to Bursa is the fact that the village is so small that there are barely any girls. Desdemona says, Why dont you get a girl from the village. It was at this point that Lefty, who was now brushing off his jacket, called hi sisters attention to something she was overlooking. Maybe you havent noticed, but there arent any girls in this village (36). Living in a small village binds Lefty and Desdemona together; therefore they are bound to have an intimate relationship with each other. Lefty and Desdemonas desires to have a sexual relationship with each other because no matter how hard they try to escape from reality they cannot.
Growing up together allows Desdemona and Lefty to become aware of each others likes and dislikes. Lefty and Desdemona does everything together since childhood. Desdemona had always loved her brother as only a sister growing up on a mountain could love a brother: he was the whole entertainment, her best friend and confidant, her co-discoverer of short cuts and monks cells (25). Being together at all times produces a connection between two people, hence leading to having sexual desires for the other. Lefty and Desdemona also sleep together; sleeping together with the other sex brings out ones hormonal drive. Lefty couldnt pinpoint the moment hed begun to have thoughts about her sister. At first hed just been curious to see what a real womans breasts looked like. It didnt matter that they were his sistersBehind the hanging kelimi that separated their bed, he saw Desdemonas silhouette as he undressed It was just a body; (48). When you grow up ones hormonal search will create feelings for another, no matter it be ones sister or brother (for any person of an opposite sex). When that feeling is created, two individuals will to explore that route and this is exactly what Lefty and Desdemona do. Hormones are the driving force for having a sexual relation and ever since Lefty was a boy Desdemona would catch Lefty masturbating. For example, As a child shed come upon him in the cocoonery, innocently rubbing against a wooden postIm trying to get that feeling (26-27). The closeness between Lefty and Desdemona creates a relationship that went beyond being brother and sister and broke moral boundaries and limits.
By involving themselves in an incestuous relationship, Lefty and Desdemona impact their future generation greatly. Calliope Stephanides, the granddaughter of Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides, says, After decades of neglect, I find myself thinking about depart great-aunts and uncles, long-lost grandfathers, unknown fifth cousins, or, in the case of an inbred family like mine, all those things in oneSing now, O Muse, of the recessive mutation on my fifth chromosome! (4). Science says that having an incestuous relationship will cause mutations and disabilities in a child and its future generations. Because Lefty and Desdemona have a sexual relationship (knowing that they are brother and sister) their granddaughter, Calliope is bred with a gene muation of a hermphrodite. Calliope is affected so greatly by the decision made by her grandparents and because of this her whole life is based on confusion and bewilderment on whom and what she is. Calliope is faced with the mirrors evidence, laughed at by her own mother, and surrounded by developing classmates (288). Calliope says, 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 (3). Calliope is brought up as a girl, but has the feelings and mentality of a boy. She is presented with many obstacles of embarrassment and uncertainty being a girl. For example, Calliope says, A year and a half after Carl Horning came to school with brand-new breasts, I was still without anyNo breasts. No period, either (295). Because of the choice Lefty and Desdemona made, their granddaughter has to suffer and endure emotional trauma from having no breasts, no period, and having a body completely torn by two different sexes (male and female). Calliope even went to the extent to hide her face from the world by purposely not cutting her hair, she says, What could I tell her? That that was the whole point having long hair? To keep it in my face? Maybe I didnt look like Dorothy Hamill. Maybe I was even starting to bear a strong resemblance to our weeping willow trees. But there were virtues to my hair. It covered tinsel teeth. It covered satirical nose. It hid blemishes and, best of all, it hid me (306). Because of her grandparents decision, Calliope has self esteem issues. Calliope went through so much physical and mental puzzlement in order to be accepted by the world that, at the end, she changed sexes from a girl to a boy so she could find some happiness and peace within herself. By changing genders she could be who she wanted to be and not be harassed by the mirror and her hermaphrodite body. Science reveals the truth about incestuous relationships and if one chooses to involve themselves in this kind of relationship, consequences are going to be have to be faced by future generations.
Decision making is an important aspect of life and once the wrong decisions are made they cannot be changed or reversed, but can only be learned from. This is the story of Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides; they are brother and sister who are attracted to each other because of their environment and their way of living. Lefty and Desdemona know everything about each other and they always do everything together because they were alone, high on top of a mountain living in a very small village. After the death of their parents, Lefty and Desdemona start to live by distracting themselves from their emotions towards each other. Even though both individuals pursue towards distractions, they can not help, but still be in love with each other.
The result of Desdemona and Leftys decision to get married and have an intimate relationship with each other leads to a gene mutation in their granddaughters DNA, which effects her entire life. Their decision is based on their stupidity and selfishness. Already knowing the consequences of an incestuous relationship, they still pursue in this repulsive act. Their decision is morally wrong in all aspects. It is completely abhorrent for siblings to involve themselves in a sexual relationship because this abnormal relationship has consequences, which are treacherous. Because of Desdemona and Leftys decision, Calliope struggles throughout her entire childhood. She is ridiculed by her surroundings, she has no self esteem, she cannot figure out who or what she is, she cannot verbalize or be the person she wants to be, and she basically hides herself from the real world. Calliope goes through so much bewilderment and fright and the way she is brought up is not how a normal child usually is. She is stripped of a normal childhood life because she is constantly in question on who or what she is. Also coming from a very strong Greek culture, the family is traumatized by Calliopes decision to become Cal and the whole idea of being a hermaphrodite. Desdemona and Lefty engage themselves in an incestuous relationship out of selfish needs. They follow through with their first so called foreplay and then to their grand finale, sex because it makes them happy; they didnt think twice to what would happen to their future generations. Just because this decision betters their life does not mean they are not ruining others, henceforth Calliopes and the world around her. Desdemona and Leftys decision is wrong and if they did not have this deviant relationship the fate of their granddaughter would not be the way it is, the family would not be traumatized, and it would not be immoral.