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 does Desdemona attempt to smuggle into the U.S. in her silkworm box?

2. What medical fact does Dr. Philobosian share with Desdemona that makes her worry about her pregnancy?

3. What is unusual about Lefty and Desdemona's relationship?

4. What does the narrator say his purpose for telling this story?

5. What does Dr. Philobosian have that he believes will protect him from the Turks?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Lefty not marry either of the village girls that Desdemona attempts to set him up with?

2. Describe the Greek General Hajienestis.

3. Compare Milton's and Mike Antoniou's views on religion.

4. Describe the narrator in Book 2, Ex Ovo Omina.

5. Why does Desdemona become concerned about her unborn child after talking with Dr. Philobosian?

6. Describe Desdemona's appearance.

7. Describe Desdemona's transformation after Calliope's birth.

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

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

10. Why do the Ford Sociological Department workers visit Lefty's home? What do they find that concerns them?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the relationship between tradition and the modernity in Middlesex. How does the author represent the traditional and the modern in the story? How do the two interact with each other? What is the impact of modernity on tradition? Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

Friendships with females are important to Cal/Calliope's journey towards self-discovery. Select two of the following females that the narrator befriends: Julie Kikuchi, Clementine Stark, the Obscure Object , Zora. Discuss:

1) Cal/Calliope's relationship with each woman.

2) The impact of this relationship on her view of herself.

3) Compare the two relationships. How are they different? How are they the same? Which has a greater influence on the person that Cal/Calliope becomes?

Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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