Literature Study GuidesMiddlesexBook 4 Chapter 28 Summary

Middlesex | Study Guide

Jeffrey Eugenides

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Middlesex | Book 4, Chapter 28 : The Last Stop | Summary



Julie Kikuchi agrees to give a relationship with Cal a try. She still kind of thinks she is the last stop. Cal thinks she is a first stop.

Chapter Eleven flies to San Francisco to collect Cal from jail and tells Cal about the circumstances of their father's death.

Only after a few beers can Chapter Eleven talk to Cal about what has transpired. "Confronted with the impossible, there was no option but to treat it as normal." At his request, upon landing, Chapter Eleven takes Cal through downtown Detroit. Cal realizes that he can't become a man without becoming "the Man."

Tessie tries to accept Cal. Cal remains essentially her daughter. "My change from girl to boy was far less dramatic than the distance anybody travels from infancy to childhood," Cal muses.

Cal decides to stay with his grandmother, rather than go to the funeral. Desdemona recognizes Cal as Calliope and tells him that her mother used to tell her of girls that grew into boys in their village in Turkey. Desdemona tells Cal about her past and her relationship with Lefty.

Milton is given a full Greek funeral, no doubt one that would have made him angry. Cal remains in the doorway of Middlesex, guarding the house against the return of Milton's spirit.


Middlesex has come full circle. It begins with Desdemona's spoon and ends with her spoon; it begins with a birth and ends with a death.

All of the parallels and loose ends are tied up in the final chapter. Tessie loses both her father and her husband to a car crash. Neither death allows for a body at the funeral. While Jimmy Zizmo had a rebirth as Fard Muhammad, Milton will live on in the memories of his family. Milton sacrificed everything for his little girl, while Jimmy sacrificed having his little girl. It is hard to say whether either is happy.

Cal, in guarding the door against the return of Milton's spirit, essentially announces to the world (the small, Greek American world in which he was raised) that he is a man, the son of Milton and Tessie Stephanides. It is a quiet announcement, however, as he attends neither the funeral nor the funeral meal, afraid of deflecting attention away from the event and afraid of the questions.

By not going to his father's funeral, asserting who he is and then stepping back, Cal becomes the Cal with whom the reader is familiar. In his relationships with Julie, Cal moves forward and then closes himself off. (He suggests this is a pattern in relationships with women.) When caught with the Obscure Object, a relationship that had been present only in the dark, he literally runs away. She makes no more appearances in his life. His relationship with the intersex community is similar; Cal holds the requisite membership in the Intersex Society of North America, but lacks the desire or initiative to politicize himself. However, the act of writing his book is finally Cal's shout and his announcement to the world outside of his family that he is Cal Stephanides.

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