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bentley
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Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.

In bankruptcy, chapter 11 is:

Chapter 11

Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets. It is generally filed by corporations which require time to restructure their debts.

Chapter 11 gives the debtor a fresh start, subject to the debtor's fulfillment of its obligations under its plan of reorganization.
Melissa_W
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

Yep - Eugenides said he named Cal's brother after bankruptcy proceedings. Beyond that, he didn't elaborate. I'm assuming it has to do with Cal talking about his brother - sort of a pet name - and that he (Cal) feels that his brother let the family down. i.e. There wasn't anything biologially wrong with Chapter 11, so he should have been able to help the family, keep the business running, and generally be what is expected of an "oldest child."



bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.

In bankruptcy, chapter 11 is:

Chapter 11

Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets. It is generally filed by corporations which require time to restructure their debts.

Chapter 11 gives the debtor a fresh start, subject to the debtor's fulfillment of its obligations under its plan of reorganization.


Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)



pedsphleb wrote:
Yep - Eugenides said he named Cal's brother after bankruptcy proceedings. Beyond that, he didn't elaborate. I'm assuming it has to do with Cal talking about his brother - sort of a pet name - and that he (Cal) feels that his brother let the family down. i.e. There wasn't anything biologially wrong with Chapter 11, so he should have been able to help the family, keep the business running, and generally be what is expected of an "oldest child."



bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.

In bankruptcy, chapter 11 is:

Chapter 11

Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets. It is generally filed by corporations which require time to restructure their debts.

Chapter 11 gives the debtor a fresh start, subject to the debtor's fulfillment of its obligations under its plan of reorganization.







Well, then that is it (the reason for the name)..I was waiting for something more profound but that is all I came up with. Thanks for confirming. You had to wait to the very end of the novel to get at any confirmation on it. Chapter Eleven did fall short of what was expected for an eldest child but there were worse characters in the novel and all of them were given a name. It seemed a little harsh; but the name fit by the end.
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CallMeLeo
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)


bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.





Yes, Dr. Phil's methods became very antiquated as the century progressed.:smileyhappy: I think Eugenides surrounded Dr. Phil witt a 'tender humor', though I can't say the same for Dr. Luce!

What I believe puts Dr. Phil a cut above other doctors - one might perceive him as a hero - is his going to the aid of his lady neighbor during the devastation of Smyrna, (he didn't have to) only to return and find his own family horribly murdered. And in the States Dr. Phil, even when old and antiquated, had the confidence of the immigrants because he was an immigrant himself, easing them through their bewildering early experience of being ill in an alien world. Maybe Dr. Phil should have been retired by Cal's birth, but I found Eugenide's portrait of him full of humor, understanding, and compassion.

As for Chapter 11, I give him credit for trying to run the business, but surprised he didn't sell out early. I thought he was smart enough to see he didn't have what it takes to keep it going.
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)


CallMeLeo wrote:

bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.





Yes, Dr. Phil's methods became very antiquated as the century progressed.:smileyhappy: I think Eugenides surrounded Dr. Phil witt a 'tender humor', though I can't say the same for Dr. Luce!

What I believe puts Dr. Phil a cut above other doctors - one might perceive him as a hero - is his going to the aid of his lady neighbor during the devastation of Smyrna, (he didn't have to) only to return and find his own family horribly murdered. And in the States Dr. Phil, even when old and antiquated, had the confidence of the immigrants because he was an immigrant himself, easing them through their bewildering early experience of being ill in an alien world. Maybe Dr. Phil should have been retired by Cal's birth, but I found Eugenide's portrait of him full of humor, understanding, and compassion.

As for Chapter 11, I give him credit for trying to run the business, but surprised he didn't sell out early. I thought he was smart enough to see he didn't have what it takes to keep it going.




Yes, they trusted Dr. Phil..he was one of them. As far as Chapter Eleven, he wasn't as bad as let's say Dr. Luce or Father Mike (and they were named)..so it seemed unusual to me for 11 to be just labeled as he was. A little harsh but then again maybe Cal was a little jealous that 11's gender wasn't as much of an issue for him. Sort of a symptom of sibling rivalry.
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

Interesting...I'd never thought of the nicknames as being harsh or insulting. If anything, Cal seemed to apply them to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.





bentley wrote:


pedsphleb wrote:
Yep - Eugenides said he named Cal's brother after bankruptcy proceedings. Beyond that, he didn't elaborate. I'm assuming it has to do with Cal talking about his brother - sort of a pet name - and that he (Cal) feels that his brother let the family down. i.e. There wasn't anything biologially wrong with Chapter 11, so he should have been able to help the family, keep the business running, and generally be what is expected of an "oldest child."



bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.

In bankruptcy, chapter 11 is:

Chapter 11

Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets. It is generally filed by corporations which require time to restructure their debts.

Chapter 11 gives the debtor a fresh start, subject to the debtor's fulfillment of its obligations under its plan of reorganization.







Well, then that is it (the reason for the name)..I was waiting for something more profound but that is all I came up with. Thanks for confirming. You had to wait to the very end of the novel to get at any confirmation on it. Chapter Eleven did fall short of what was expected for an eldest child but there were worse characters in the novel and all of them were given a name. It seemed a little harsh; but the name fit by the end.


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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

In the case of the Obscure Object, he stated in the chapter devoted to her that he was not naming her to protect her. So that is the reason there. As far as Lefty, his real and full name was given in the story (see the Family Tree)..so Calliope/Cal when telling the story did name her grandparents and gave their full names. So we are left really only with Chapter Eleven (and no explanation was given why he chose not to give his brother's full name at any time).

Therefore, I concluded that he was treating this character a little more harshly than the others which he named or in the case of the obscure object said that he was protecting her. Chapter 11 was treated differently than the others. Could be sibling rivalry; could have been another reason..but the reason was never given.




JesseBC wrote:
Interesting...I'd never thought of the nicknames as being harsh or insulting. If anything, Cal seemed to apply them to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.





bentley wrote:


pedsphleb wrote:
Yep - Eugenides said he named Cal's brother after bankruptcy proceedings. Beyond that, he didn't elaborate. I'm assuming it has to do with Cal talking about his brother - sort of a pet name - and that he (Cal) feels that his brother let the family down. i.e. There wasn't anything biologially wrong with Chapter 11, so he should have been able to help the family, keep the business running, and generally be what is expected of an "oldest child."



bentley wrote:
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

About Dr. Luce:

From what I can see in the novel, there was not a lot of respect for the medical profession and specificially Doctor Luce (possibly Lucifer reference)..not sure what others think about that. Even the old doctor (Dr. Phil for short) was not looked upon with a great deal of respect for their skills of diagnosis, etc. Of course, from my viewpoint, Dr. Luce was far worse.

Now Chapter Eleven:

Why Eugenides picked upon Chapter Eleven and didn't even name him is beyond me. There were a lot worse characters in the book who did a lot worse things to Cal and to others and they all had names (including Father Mike and Jimmy). Yes, what he did hurt Theodora (Cal's mother) who Cal adored; but Chapter Eleven was OK with Cal and picked him up etc. OK, Chapter Eleven did bankrupt the franchises (but you could see it coming when he was a vegetarian) and had no business sense whatsoever.

In bankruptcy, chapter 11 is:

Chapter 11

Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets. It is generally filed by corporations which require time to restructure their debts.

Chapter 11 gives the debtor a fresh start, subject to the debtor's fulfillment of its obligations under its plan of reorganization.







Well, then that is it (the reason for the name)..I was waiting for something more profound but that is all I came up with. Thanks for confirming. You had to wait to the very end of the novel to get at any confirmation on it. Chapter Eleven did fall short of what was expected for an eldest child but there were worse characters in the novel and all of them were given a name. It seemed a little harsh; but the name fit by the end.





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CallMeLeo
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]
Good point, Jesse. Despite Chapter Eleven ruining his father's business, in the end I remember more the acceptance and camaraderie between him and Cal.

JesseBC wrote:
Cal seemed to apply them [nicknames] to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.







Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-26-2007 12:36 PM
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]

CallMeLeo wrote:
Good point, Jesse. Despite Chapter Eleven ruining his father's business, in the end I remember more the acceptance and camaraderie between him and Cal.

JesseBC wrote:
Cal seemed to apply them [nicknames] to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.







Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-26-2007 12:36 PM




Yes, Chapter Eleven was fairly accepting and was just being himself in the entire book..not really trying to hurt Calliope/Cal except for the show and tell sequence which was a little bizarre. But, considering the so called "evil-doers" in the novel like Luce and Father Mike..Eugenides was a little harsh on not giving Calliope's brother a name. I do not ever remember that I thought it was insulting (I don't think that); but harsh towards a character who was not unkind to him.

Remember, he didn't name the Obscure Object (he said to protect her) and he did give his grandfather's full name in the novel (even though everybody nicknamed him Lefty).

So Chapter Eleven was the only unnamed character with just a nickname attached to him: a nickname that nobody called him in the book because they would never have heard him being called that; only the readers hear Chapter 11 being named that through Calliope/Cal, the narrator.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-26-2007 01:46 PM
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]
It could also be the case of Cal/Calliope just giving his brother a good old fashion ribbing. Sometimes a nickname just sticks and the real name is utterly forgotten. Think Radar from M.A.S.H. or Rerun from What's Happening!! :smileyhappy:



bentley wrote:

CallMeLeo wrote:
Good point, Jesse. Despite Chapter Eleven ruining his father's business, in the end I remember more the acceptance and camaraderie between him and Cal.

JesseBC wrote:
Cal seemed to apply them [nicknames] to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.







Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-26-2007 12:36 PM




Yes, Chapter Eleven was fairly accepting and was just being himself in the entire book..not really trying to hurt Calliope/Cal except for the show and tell sequence which was a little bizarre. But, considering the so called "evil-doers" in the novel like Luce and Father Mike..Eugenides was a little harsh on not giving Calliope's brother a name. I do not ever remember that I thought it was insulting (I don't think that); but harsh towards a character who was not unkind to him.

Remember, he didn't name the Obscure Object (he said to protect her) and he did give his grandfather's full name in the novel (even though everybody nicknamed him Lefty).

So Chapter Eleven was the only unnamed character with just a nickname attached to him: a nickname that nobody called him in the book because they would never have heard him being called that; only the readers hear Chapter 11 being named that through Calliope/Cal, the narrator.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-26-2007 01:46 PM



Message Edited by PaulH on 06-26-2007 01:55 PM
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Luce (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]

PaulH wrote:
It could also be the case of Cal/Calliope just giving his brother a good old fashion ribbing. Sometimes a nickname just sticks and the real name is utterly forgotten. Think Radar from M.A.S.H. or Rerun from What's Happening!! :smileyhappy:



bentley wrote:

CallMeLeo wrote:
Good point, Jesse. Despite Chapter Eleven ruining his father's business, in the end I remember more the acceptance and camaraderie between him and Cal.

JesseBC wrote:
Cal seemed to apply them [nicknames] to those who tugged most at his heart -- Lefty, Chapter Eleven, the Obscure Object, etc.







Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-26-2007 12:36 PM




Yes, Chapter Eleven was fairly accepting and was just being himself in the entire book..not really trying to hurt Calliope/Cal except for the show and tell sequence which was a little bizarre. But, considering the so called "evil-doers" in the novel like Luce and Father Mike..Eugenides was a little harsh on not giving Calliope's brother a name. I do not ever remember that I thought it was insulting (I don't think that); but harsh towards a character who was not unkind to him.

Remember, he didn't name the Obscure Object (he said to protect her) and he did give his grandfather's full name in the novel (even though everybody nicknamed him Lefty).

So Chapter Eleven was the only unnamed character with just a nickname attached to him: a nickname that nobody called him in the book because they would never have heard him being called that; only the readers hear Chapter 11 being named that through Calliope/Cal, the narrator.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-26-2007 01:46 PM



Message Edited by PaulH on 06-26-2007 01:55 PM




True, but the point I was making is that the family did not call Chapter 11, Chapter 11 at any time..whereas in Mash everybody was calling Radar, Radar. It could be like you said..brotherly ribbing (sibling rivalry, etc). It was Calliope's/Cal private nickname and I am not sure she/he called Chapter Eleven that to his face.

Anyways, it was a stupid nickname and the reader didn't find out (if in fact they figured it out) until the end of the novel.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-26-2007 02:06 PM
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]
I can't recall that many specific passages when the other characters address Chapter Eleven directly. I looked up the scene when Chapter Eleven puts Cal's head in the automated door (pg. 259) and Milton simply addresses him as "Birdbrain", which certainly fits that episode.

Can anyone else site a specific passage of Chapter Eleven being addressed directly? There has be more, right?

Message Edited by PaulH on 06-26-2007 02:44 PM
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)



PaulH wrote:
I can't recall that many specific passages when the other characters address Chapter Eleven directly. I looked up the scene when Chapter Eleven puts Cal's head in the automated door (pg. 259) and Milton simply addresses him as "Birdbrain", which certainly fits that episode.

Can anyone else site a specific passage of Chapter Eleven being addressed directly? There has be more, right?

Message Edited by PaulH on 06-26-2007 02:44 PM




You are making another good point; the narrator didn't even address Chapter Eleven very much at all and nobody seemed to call him by his name whatever that might have been.

Will have a look.
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)

Naming Chapter Eleven, "Chapter Eleven" may have been intended as foreshadowing. For some reason I got what it meant right away and knew he would be responsible for a business failure. Somebody else who read the book said that she thought it meant the eleventh chapter in the book, which makes just as much sense until you read to the end.

As for Dr. Luce, I don't remember him being a warm fuzzy character, but I thought he was portrayed relatively well, in that he asked Calliope all the right questions, and presumably would have recommended a different treatment had she answered them honestly. I suppose he could be blamed for not including her in the decision making process, which at age 15, she should have been. But compared to the real life Dr. Whats-his-name who butchered poor Brian/Brenda (See nature-nurture thread) Luce wasn't so bad. Euginedes could have made him a lot worse if he wanted him to be a real Lucifer, but ironically, we probably would have found him less believable.

Marcia
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)


marcialou wrote:
Naming Chapter Eleven, "Chapter Eleven" may have been intended as foreshadowing. For some reason I got what it meant right away and knew he would be responsible for a business failure. Somebody else who read the book said that she thought it meant the eleventh chapter in the book, which makes just as much sense until you read to the end.

As for Dr. Luce, I don't remember him being a warm fuzzy character, but I thought he was portrayed relatively well, in that he asked Calliope all the right questions, and presumably would have recommended a different treatment had she answered them honestly. I suppose he could be blamed for not including her in the decision making process, which at age 15, she should have been. But compared to the real life Dr. Whats-his-name who butchered poor Brian/Brenda (See nature-nurture thread) Luce wasn't so bad. Euginedes could have made him a lot worse if he wanted him to be a real Lucifer, but ironically, we probably would have found him less believable.

Marcia




Remember though Dr. Luce tried to profit from Calliope even after he knew the unfortunate outcome of his incorrect diagnosis. As far as Chapter Eleven, you are correct but other characters did far worse things and still were named. Luce did seem bent on exploiting his patients to advance his research.

But you are right, none are as bad as the doctor referenced in the nature/nurture thread.

Glad to hear from you Marcia.

Regards,

Bentley
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smh916
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)

I think there's an additional meaning to Chapter Eleven's name: as stated in the definition provided in the original post in this thread, Chapter Eleven (the bankruptcy proceedings) gives the debtor a fresh start.

I think we could argue that by picking up Cal in California and being the first family member to truly accept Cal as a male, "Chapter Eleven" gave his brother a fresh start and began a different kind of relationship with him.

And obviously, as stated, drove the family business into the ground :smileyhappy:
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven and Dr. Lace (SPOILER)



smh916 wrote:
I think there's an additional meaning to Chapter Eleven's name: as stated in the definition provided in the original post in this thread, Chapter Eleven (the bankruptcy proceedings) gives the debtor a fresh start.

I think we could argue that by picking up Cal in California and being the first family member to truly accept Cal as a male, "Chapter Eleven" gave his brother a fresh start and began a different kind of relationship with him.

And obviously, as stated, drove the family business into the ground :smileyhappy:




Yes, that is very interesting smh916. Chapter Eleven does give folks a fresh start or new beginning after releasing a heavy burden of debt. Calliope had released her burden finally.

A vegetarian selling hot dogs is almost an oxymoron...how successful could one be especially if they did not have a business sense..(all lost on Chapter Eleven).
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bentley
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Re: Chapter Eleven - Response from Jeffrey Eugenides (SPOILER)

Jeffrey Eugenides on the Oprah site has answered the following question about Chapter Eleven which I will post here. I thought it would be interesting for all. There is a Q & A where readers can ask questions and a few are chosen to be responded to. Here a reader named Stacy S. asks the author the famous question.

What does Chapter Eleven mean?
Dear Jeffrey Eugenides,

I am confused about why you refer to Cal's brother as Chapter Eleven, yet at other times you refer to him by his given name?

— Stacy S.


Dear Stacy,

Cal, the narrator of Middlesex, never refers to Chapter Eleven by his given name. Neither does anyone in the book. The nickname, "Chapter Eleven," is bestowed on Cal's brother by Cal himself, retroactively, in the act of writing the book. If you can find a place where Chapter Eleven is called something else, Stacy, let me know, but I'd be very surprised. His "given name" is something I didn't give the reader.

As for the meaning of the nickname, that's another story. The character of Chapter Eleven is introduced in the first pages of the novel but it's not until page 512 that Cal provides clues as to what this name means. There's a long passage where Cal sketches what will happen to his brother in the years to come, but, unlike just about every other Stephanides family story, Cal elects not to go into it. Still, the hints are there and include the maxing out of credit cards, etc., all of which point to a situation that might involve something known in U.S. tax law as Chapter 11.

By the way, Stacy, your question is the question I get asked most often by readers of the book. The name "Chapter Eleven" really confuses people in Europe and Asia, as you might imagine. (No one files for Chapter 11 in Japan.) In some cases, Germany, for instance, where I know the language, I've worked with my translators to come up with an alternative. In the German edition of Middlesex, Chapter Eleven is called Der Pleitegeier. This refers to the circling buzzard that presages doom, usually of the financial variety.

— Jeffrey Eugenides
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Chapter Eleven - Response from Jeffrey Eugenides (SPOILER)

These are great, Bentley. Thanks for posting them! It's an intersting note about translations and how tricky they can be.



bentley wrote:
Jeffrey Eugenides on the Oprah site has answered the following question about Chapter Eleven which I will post here. I thought it would be interesting for all. There is a Q & A where readers can ask questions and a few are chosen to be responded to. Here a reader named Stacy S. asks the author the famous question.

What does Chapter Eleven mean?
Dear Jeffrey Eugenides,

I am confused about why you refer to Cal's brother as Chapter Eleven, yet at other times you refer to him by his given name?

— Stacy S.


Dear Stacy,

Cal, the narrator of Middlesex, never refers to Chapter Eleven by his given name. Neither does anyone in the book. The nickname, "Chapter Eleven," is bestowed on Cal's brother by Cal himself, retroactively, in the act of writing the book. If you can find a place where Chapter Eleven is called something else, Stacy, let me know, but I'd be very surprised. His "given name" is something I didn't give the reader.

As for the meaning of the nickname, that's another story. The character of Chapter Eleven is introduced in the first pages of the novel but it's not until page 512 that Cal provides clues as to what this name means. There's a long passage where Cal sketches what will happen to his brother in the years to come, but, unlike just about every other Stephanides family story, Cal elects not to go into it. Still, the hints are there and include the maxing out of credit cards, etc., all of which point to a situation that might involve something known in U.S. tax law as Chapter 11.

By the way, Stacy, your question is the question I get asked most often by readers of the book. The name "Chapter Eleven" really confuses people in Europe and Asia, as you might imagine. (No one files for Chapter 11 in Japan.) In some cases, Germany, for instance, where I know the language, I've worked with my translators to come up with an alternative. In the German edition of Middlesex, Chapter Eleven is called Der Pleitegeier. This refers to the circling buzzard that presages doom, usually of the financial variety.

— Jeffrey Eugenides



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