Middlesex Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the cause of Desdemona's heart palpitations?

2. What shocks Desdemona and Lefty about Sourmelina's husband, Jimmy Zismo?

3. Where do Desdemona and Lefty move to in this chapter?

4. Who does Desdemona hope that Milton will marry?

5. What does the narrator say makes him/her "the most famous hermaphrodite in history"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Lefty visit the town of Bursa so often?

2. Describe Desdemona's appearance.

3. How does Desdemona react to the speeches that she hears through the heating grates while working in the Silk Room?

4. Why does the vigilante who throws a Molotov Cocktail into the Zebra Room yell "Opa!" as he sets the diner on fire?

5. What goes through Tessie's mind as she watches movies at the theatre?

6. Why do Tessie and Milton want a baby daughter so badly?

7. Describe Fard Muhammad's beliefs about the evolution of race.

8. What is the conflict between Desdemona and Lefty in the chapter "Marriage on Ice"?

9. How does Jimmy Zismo change during Sourmelina's pregnancy?

10. Compare Lefty's original Zebra Room to Milton's version of the Zebra Room.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the beginning of Middlesex, the narrator (Cal) tells the reader that the purpose for telling this story is to record the family history that led to his hermaphroditism. ("And so before it's too late I want to get it down for good: this roller-coaster ride of a single gene through time.") Do you believe that this is the only reason for writing this story? Why or why not? What are some other reasons why Cal chooses to write this story?Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your viewpoint.

Essay Topic 2

Sexual taboos are central to the story lines in Middlesex. Discuss how the author uses forbidden romance and sexual secrets in the novel. What is the impact of these taboos on the story? What is the author trying to say about our beliefs about sexuality? Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 3

Middlesex is a first person narrative written from the point of view of Cal. Discuss how this fact influences the story? What biases does Cal bring to the story? How would the nove be different if another character was telling the story? Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

(see the answer keys)

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