Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Neo-PassingPerforming Identity after Jim Crow$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mollie Godfrey and Vershawn Ashanti Young

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041587

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041587.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

“A New Type of Human Being”

“A New Type of Human Being”

Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity as Perpetual Passing in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex

(p.219) Chapter 10 “A New Type of Human Being”

Lara Narcisi

University of Illinois Press

Jeffrey Eugenides’s 2002 epic Middlesex uses its intersex narrator, Callie/Cal, to interrogate the process of radically changing identity. Cal is a guevedoce, possessing a rare but real genetic condition that transforms apparent girls into men at puberty. From butch schoolgirl to effeminate patriarch, never simply male or female, Cal’s life is passing. The novel questions, however, whether any categories need be so exclusive. Cal’s ambiguous identity echoes myriad others, in plot lines concerning incest, immigration, Islam, and more. Through shifting genres, secret identities, and dramatic plot twists, the novel demonstrates that when society demands strict categories, we are all essentially passing. The chapter gestures forward to a time when the pretense of passing will disappear, and we will all embrace our multifarious, uncategorizable selves.

Keywords:   Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, intersex, hermaphrodite, sexuality, immigrant, contemporary American literature, passing

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.