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Bill_T
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Middle Chapters Discussion: Time Traveling

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Middlesex begins just before Cal's birth in 1960, then moves backward in time to 1922. Cal is born at the beginning of Part 3, about halfway through the novel. Why did the author choose to structure the story in this way? How does this movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?



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Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-04-2007 04:51 PM

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bentley
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Re: Middle Chapters Discussion: Time Traveling



Bill_T wrote:
Middlesex begins just before Cal's birth in 1960, then moves backward in time to 1922. Cal is born at the beginning of Part 3, about halfway through the novel. Why did the author choose to structure the story in this way? How does this movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?



Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read deeper into Middlesex, through the end of Book Three.If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

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Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-04-2007 04:51 PM





At first, the time traveling adds to the confusion. But then it starts to make sense. Genetics plays a key role in the book and with the end result: Calliope/Cal. So his conception is pivotal and of course that is where the book should start: the events leading up to this decisive coupling of his/her mother and father.(Calliope's/Cal's). But the baby is not just a genetic product of Tessie and Milton, so the author has to go back genetically to what event/events and what coupling/couplings increased the probability of the birth of a hemaphrodite. And that is why Cal's actual birth is not narrated until halfway through the novel. Calliope/Cal does tell us early on what is happening (on page 9): "Of course, a narrator in my position (prefatal at the time) can't be entirely sure about any of this." So the readers are forewarned and alerted to the time traveling right at the start of the novel.
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bentley
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Re: Middle Chapters Discussion: Time Traveling (Correction)



bentley wrote:


Bill_T wrote:
Middlesex begins just before Cal's birth in 1960, then moves backward in time to 1922. Cal is born at the beginning of Part 3, about halfway through the novel. Why did the author choose to structure the story in this way? How does this movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?



Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read deeper into Middlesex, through the end of Book Three.If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.

Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-04-2007 04:51 PM





At first, the time traveling adds to the confusion. But then it starts to make sense. Genetics plays a key role in the book and with the end result: Calliope/Cal. So his conception is pivotal and of course that is where the book should start: the events leading up to this decisive coupling of his/her mother and father.(Calliope's/Cal's). But the baby is not just a genetic product of Tessie and Milton, so the author has to go back genetically to what event/events and what coupling/couplings increased the probability of the birth of a hemaphrodite. And that is why Cal's actual birth is not narrated until halfway through the novel. Calliope/Cal does tell us early on what is happening (on page 9): "Of course, a narrator in my position (prefatal at the time) can't be entirely sure about any of this." So the readers are forewarned and alerted to the time traveling right at the start of the novel.




I meant prefetal not prefatal...although maybe I had a premonition of the fate of poor Calliope/Cal. (lol)
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Middle Chapters Discussion: Time Traveling (Correction)



bentley wrote:


bentley wrote:


Bill_T wrote:
Middlesex begins just before Cal's birth in 1960, then moves backward in time to 1922. Cal is born at the beginning of Part 3, about halfway through the novel. Why did the author choose to structure the story in this way? How does this movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?



Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have read deeper into Middlesex, through the end of Book Three.If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.

Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-04-2007 04:51 PM





At first, the time traveling adds to the confusion. But then it starts to make sense. Genetics plays a key role in the book and with the end result: Calliope/Cal. So his conception is pivotal and of course that is where the book should start: the events leading up to this decisive coupling of his/her mother and father.(Calliope's/Cal's). But the baby is not just a genetic product of Tessie and Milton, so the author has to go back genetically to what event/events and what coupling/couplings increased the probability of the birth of a hemaphrodite. And that is why Cal's actual birth is not narrated until halfway through the novel. Calliope/Cal does tell us early on what is happening (on page 9): "Of course, a narrator in my position (prefatal at the time) can't be entirely sure about any of this." So the readers are forewarned and alerted to the time traveling right at the start of the novel.




I meant prefetal not prefatal...although maybe I had a premonition of the fate of poor Calliope/Cal. (lol)




I hope Not!
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