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Middlesex | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, Chapter 1 "I want to get it out for good: this rollercoaster ride of a single gene through time," Cal Stephanides says as he narra... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 2 Cal's narrative moves back in time to 1922, when a young Desdemona is living in her village alone with her brother, Left... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 3 Lefty and Desdemona agree to go to Smyrna, where they encounter Dr. Philobosian, who has a letter from Mustafa Kemal gua... Read More
Book 1, Chapter 4 Lefty and Desdemona board a ship bound for America, bringing Dr. Philobosian along with them. Lefty and Desdemona preten... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 5 At Ellis Island, Desdemona's hair is cut, her kerchief is exchanged for a floppy hat, her dress is traded for a drop-wai... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 6 Cal, in the first-person present tense of his current story, is in Berlin. He has scheduled a first date with Julie Kiku... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 7 After a funeral for Jimmy Zizmo, Lina observes the Greek tradition of wearing black, but only for 40 days, after which Z... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 8 As it turns out, Desdemona has stumbled into working for the Nation of Islam, going in and out the back door. "The templ... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 9 In the present Cal takes Julie out on a first date, which goes well because she is not "husband hunting." In the p... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 10 Cal calls Julie for a second date and spontaneously gives her a kiss. She asks if he is gay: "My gay-dar went off comple... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 11 Milton stays with the military until the Korean War is over, and then he and Tessie return to Detroit. Milton converts h... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 12 Dr. Philobosian delivers Callie and pronounces that she is a beautiful baby girl. Cal observes that at the tender age of... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 13 It is 1967, and Milton is facing the possibility that he will go out of business. Detroit is increasingly tense. Milton ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 14 Lefty and Desdemona decide to move to an affluent suburb of Detroit called Grosse Pointe. However, a realtor tries to di... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 15 Cal and Julie enjoy a weekend together and use the word we, though they do not sleep together. Cal is frightened of havi... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 16 Because of desegregation, the Stephanideses put Callie in a private all-girls' school in Grosse Point. She is often in p... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 17 After church one day, Callie is stopped by her mother's hairdresser, who suggests that Callie wax her mustache. Callie i... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 18 Since Chapter Eleven's departure, the atmosphere at home is tense. Callie finds solace at school. Tessie is nervous that... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 19 Tessie makes an appointment for Callie with a gynecologist. This fills Callie with dread. The family is preparing ... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 20 Callie fakes her period: "I did cramps the way Meryl Streep did accents," she says. She flushes a "flotilla of unused ta... Read More
Book 3, Chapter 21 Callie rejects Jerome when he tries to have sex with her again, telling him she doesn't like him. However, Callie become... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 22 After the emergency room doctor notes something unusual about Callie's anatomy, Callie sees an endocrinologist who speci... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 23 Dr. Luce tells Milton and Tessie that Callie's interests, gestures, and psychosexual makeup are female, and thus, Callie... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 24 Callie takes a bus to Pennsylvania, buys a suit, and gets a haircut. The hair has been her shield. The barber, raging ag... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 25 Bob Presto picks up Cal and becomes intrigued by him. "What are you anyway?" he asks as he drops Cal off in San Francisc... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 26 Cal has started performing at Sixty-Niners, a sex club in San Francisco that is owned by Bob Presto, who has realized he... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 27 In the present Cal bumps into Julie Kikuchi, as he has been half-hoping to do, at a museum show opening. Nearing the end... Read More
Book 4, Chapter 28 Julie Kikuchi agrees to give a relationship with Cal a try. She still kind of thinks she is the last stop. Cal thinks sh... Read More
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