06-14-2007 04:24 PM
In parts of the novel I found that Eugenides used chance and fate interchangeably, sometimes in the same sentence or paragraph. So I would say that Cal sees that his life has been governed by both.
Describing his own conception, Cal writes: "The timing of the thing had to be just so in order for me to become the person I am. Delay the act by an hour and you change the gene selection" (p. 11). Do you see Cal's condition a result of chance or of fate? Which of these forces governs the world as Cal sees it?
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06-14-2007 06:04 PM
I've read all the messages. Now let me see if I have it straight so correct me if I'm wrong:
It's Lefty and Des (Are both males and females carriers of the recessive gene?) passing the recessive gene to Milton; and Lina, first cousin to Lefty and Des and also a carrier of the recessive gene, passing it to Tessie; and in Milton and Tessie, two carriers, the recessive gene is finally fertilized with Cal.
Yes, that is all correct. Sourmelina (Lina) however has more than a cousin relationship to the others (that is all I am saying at this point) until folks are futher along. I gleaned that not on my own by the way and I am still looking to see why the brother is called Chapter Eleven (but hopefully that will be answered by the end of the novel)...maybe I will figure that one out as well or we can simply just ask Melissa (lol).
All I could think was what a messed up family. (smile) I was also trying to set up a family tree but did anyone get the full name of Desdemona's and Lefty's father (I am assuming the last name was Stepanides). There are really just bits and pieces going back before Desdemona and not a lot of names just familial titles, etc.
We know the following that it passed through nine generations of the Stephanides and their ancestors for nine generations (recessive mutation on the fifth chromosome).
Cal says all of the above at the top of page 4. Also remember that the timing had to be perfect as well. On page 11, "The timing of the thing had to be just so in order for me to become the person I am. Delay the act by an hour and you change the gene selection." So what happened to Calliope/Cal wasn't automatic because his parents were both carrying the recessive gene...but the results could have happened to any of the children if the gene pool selected in fertilization contained the mutated genes from both parents. These miscreant genes hide out in chromosome number five and if they are together syphon off an enzyme which stops the production of certain hormones which complicates Calliopes/Cal's life. I am assuming that if he had in fact been born a male and not a female that his problems would have not been obvious (like Chapter Eleven). On page 41, he explains that he can function normally as a man because 5-alpha-reductase deficiency syndrome allows for normal biosynthesis and peripheral action of testosterone, in utero, neonatally, and at puberty (he just doesn't go bald and he confirms that he is not androgynous.)
Now I have a much clearer understanding. Thanks, Bentley. I'm curious about Lina, though. I haven't gleaned anything more beyond the first cousin relationship. I'll remind myself to ask you in later chapters.
Of course, like I said I did not glean that piece of information myself yet. But it was pointed out that Sourmelina was not just a first cousin. Later on those details.