The Depiction of Hermaphroditism in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex

In: Novels

Submitted By nibec103
Words 6778
Pages 28
Depiction of Hermaphroditism in Middlesex

Hausarbeit als Abschlussprüfung im Advancedmodul“Female Masculinity”(WS 2013/14)Dozenten Anna Hutnik, M. A. und Dietlind Falk, M.ABachelorstudiengang Anglistik/Amerikanistikder Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf

Vorgelegt von:Nicole Jennifer BeckerNicole.Becker@uni-duesseldorf.de
BA Anglistik KF, Informationswissenschaft EF, 3. SemesterMatrikel-Nr: 211199703.04.2014
Table of ContentTable of Content
I.Introduction 3
II.Hermaphroditism vs Middlesex4
III.Cal's Intersexuality in Society6
III.a. Gender Identity and Transphobia6
III.b. Gender Assignment and Intelligibility9
IV.Dealing with Intersexuality10
IV.a.Stephanides Family and Dr. Luce10
IV.b. Beyond Middlesex: Other Cultures 12
V.Conclusion15
V.a.Outlook17
VI.Works Cited19
Introduction Inspired by the story of Herculine Barbin, a nineteenth-century hermaphrodite who committed suicide in 1868, the bestseller novel “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides deals with the condition of the pseudohermaphrodite Calliope “Cal” Stephanides.
Since sex[1] and gender[2] are controversial topics that have been discussed by scholars such as Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault or Judith Butler to name only a few, it can be assumed that the depiction of hermaphroditism in a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel like Middlesex might have an influence on how readers think of the topic itself. Due to this day especially hermaphrodites and intersexuals lack in most countries representation in form of the possibility of being recognized as a third sex. Does Eugenides mirror this situation and depicts Cal as in fact frowned upon, too? So far there are only a handful of countries that acknowledge intersexuality as a third sex which enables them not to have to be forced into either male or female sex categories. Precisely because there is still injustice and stigmatization revolving…...

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