Literature Study GuidesMiddlesexBook 3 Chapter 14 Summary

Middlesex | Study Guide

Jeffrey Eugenides

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Middlesex | Book 3, Chapter 14 : Middlesex | Summary



Lefty and Desdemona decide to move to an affluent suburb of Detroit called Grosse Pointe. However, a realtor tries to dissuade them from buying a house there because a multigenerational Greek family is not prized in Grosse Pointe. But they find a house, pay cash, and the house becomes theirs.

Lefty has several strokes, which cause him to begin to regress, going back in time until he no longer sees Desdemona as his wife, but as his sister. Desdemona has been awaiting this moment with dread, but when it comes the family treats it as another of Lefty's delusions. In winter 1970 Lefty dies. Desdemona stays in bed except for a bath, for the next 10 years. Callie makes a new friend, Clementine, and she practices kissing, with Callie playing the man.


Callie is made aware of many things in this chapter. While she knows nothing of sex, she knows enough not to tell her mother about kissing a girl and how it makes her feel. She sees that Grosse Pointe residents are less enthusiastic about the Stephanides than the Stephanides are about Grosse Pointe. As much as her father wanted to get out of the city, the suburbs are not welcoming to families like theirs. She learns about death.

As her grandfather's memory wanes, Callie begins to remember things that she can't, events that she wasn't present for. She develops a sense of what others are feeling, an empathy that transcends her own experience and which she attributes to her positioning between genders. She cannot, however, read her grandmother.

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