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Transcultural Identity and Circulation of Imaginaries

Greek Diaspora and Hybrid Identities: Transnational and Transgender Perspectives in Two novels: Loaded, by Christos Tsiolkas (Australia) and Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (USA)

Diaspora grecque et identités hybrides : Perspectives transnationale et transgenre dans deux romans, Loaded de Christos Tsiolkas (Australie) et Middlesex de Jeffrey Eugenides (Etats-Unis)
Sophie COAVOUX

Résumés

Nombreux sont les textes de la littérature grecque moderne, ou de la littérature étrangère écrite par des auteurs d’origine grecque, dans lesquels la migration est liée à la question de l’identité. C’est le sujet de nombreuses représentations artistiques, en particulier dans le cinéma et dans la littérature. L’objectif de cet article est d’examiner cette problématique à travers une analyse comparative de deux romans : Loaded, le premier roman de Christos Tsiolkas publié en 1995, et Middlesex, le plus connu des deux, de Jeffrey Eugenides qui a reçu le prix Pulitzer en 2002. Ces deux romans mettent en scène la quête identitaire de leurs protagonistes respectifs, Ari et Calliopi, tous deux d’origine grecque, le premier vivant en Australie et le second aux Etats-Unis. Explorant l’expérience d’une remise en question identitaire radicale, les deux auteurs associent ethnicité et genre dans la narration. A maints égards, les deux personnages, Ari et Calliopi, semblent être pris dans une série de dilemmes identitaires, régis par une dialectique apparemment binaire : grécité versus américanité ou australianité, multiculturalisme versus hellénisme, homme versus femme, homosexuel versus hétérosexuel, normes versus marges, essentialisme versus constructionnisme et existentialisme, déterminisme versus libre arbitre. A travers la comparaison de ces deux romans, nous analyserons la construction du genre et de l’identité ethnique et nous soulignerons les conceptions sur lesquelles ils sont basés.

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  • 1  Christos Tsiolkas, Loaded, London, Vintage Books, 1997; Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, London, Bloo (...)

1Many are the texts of Modern Greek literature, or foreign literature written by authors of Greek descent, in which the question of migration is related to the issue of identity. My aim in this article is to examine this research question through the comparative analysis of two novels: Loaded, Christos Tsiolkas’s first novel published in 1995, and, the most famous, Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.1 These two novels stage the identity quest of their respective protagonists, Ari and Calliopi, both of them being of Greek descent (the former living in Australia and the latter in the US). Exploring the experience of a radical rethinking of identity, the two writers associate ethnicity and gender within the narration. In many ways, both characters, Ari and Calliopi, seem to be caught in a series of identity dilemma, governed by a seemingly binary dialectic: Greekness versus Americanness or Australianness, multiculturalism versus Hellenism, man versus woman, homosexual versus heterosexual, standards versus margins, essentialism versus constructionism, determinism versus free will. Through the comparison of these two novels, I will analyse the construction of gender and ethnic identity and highlight the outlooks on which they are based. How is personal identity constructed in between the model of multiculturalism of the host society and the model of Hellenism? What role the intersection of ethnicity and gender plays in this construction?

2In the texts related to the issue of migration, the question of identity, which lies between the representation of the self and the representation of the other, stages the problem of how people perceive themselves and how they are perceived by the others, especially by the host society. Furthermore, this ambivalence also questions the concurrence between collective identity and personal identity. What is of interest to us here is the expression of those tensions in the two novels of Christos Tsiolkas and Jeffrey Eugenides, describing the deconstruction/construction of self-identity, as their protagonists face the model of normative given categories and the boundaries of supposedly fixed identities.

3Loaded narrates twenty-four hours in the life of its protagonist, Ari, a nineteen-year-old Greek-Australian who lives in Melbourne in the 90s and constantly grapples with the barriers of social difference. Torn between the traditional Greek world of his parents and his lived experience of being in Australia, the only way he found to escape his uneasiness is a destructive way of life based on drugs and sex. He struggles to find his own personal identity, rejecting all conventional identity labels, and seems to be lost between conflicting representations of ethnicity, gender and sexuality. About his ethnic identity, he says:

  • 2  Tsiolkas, p. 149.

I’m not Australian, I’m not Greek, I’m not anything. I’m not a worker, I’m not a student, I’m not an artist, I’m not a junkie, I’m not a conversationalist, I’m not an Australian, not a wog, not anything. I’m not left wing, right wing, center, left of center, right of Genghis Khan. I don’t vote, I don’t demonstrate, I don’t do charity.
What I am is a runner. Running away from the thousand and one things that people say you have to be or should want to be.2

  • 3  Tsiolkas, p. 12.
  • 4  Tsiolkas, p. 21.
  • 5  Tsiolkas, p. 138.

4He is a second-generation Greek-Australian, and if Greece is “a different world. [...] a world” he has “no fucking clue about”3, he is at the same time deeply linked to his Greekness. He can speak Greek, knows all Greek customs, listens to Greek music, has Greek friends, eats Greek food, was baptized Christian Orthodox, and, more importantly, he has internalized some aspects of traditional Greek mentality and culture. So, despite some of his arguments, he remains “the good Greek boy” 4: even if he does not respect his parents all the time the way he should, he does not entirely free himself from their authority, and their moral judgment is of great importance to him (“Mum and Dad are going to kill me”5).

  • 6  Tsiolkas, p. 43: “Ethnicity is a scam, a bullshit, a piece of crock. The forteresses of the rich w (...)
  • 7  Tsiolkas, pp. 142-143: “This is another urban myth. It is about solidarity. The myth goes somethin (...)
  • 8  Tsiolkas, p. 43.
  • 9  Tsiolkas, p. 41.
  • 10  Tsiolkas, p. 82.
  • 11  Tsiolkas, p. 132.
  • 12  Tsiolkas, pp. 143-144.

5About ethnicity, Ari thinks it is a “scam”.6 He does not believe in the model of multiculturalism as, for him, the multicultural and capitalist Australian world is a failure, built on strong boundaries and in which solidarity and community do not exist. According to him, they are just an “urban myth”.7 His vision is expressed, by a metaphor, through his ride across the streets of Melbourne. Loaded comprises four sections, East, North, South, and West. Ari’s trip across Melbourne’s suburbs reflects the existence of a hierarchy of class, ethnicity and sexual practices. He depicts diverse communities in which a harmonious cultural plurality does not exist, because of socio-ethno-sexual boundaries. He detests the East, “the East is hell. Designed by America”8, a kind of Disneyland “where you’ll see the authentic white Australian”9, and which symbolizes the capitalistic white world. The North is not Melbourne, it is not Australia. It “is where they put most of the wogs. […] “a little village in the mountains of the Mediterranean transported to the bottom of the southern hemisphere”, where all races “hold on to old ways, old cultures, old rituals which no longer can or should mean anything”.10 “To the South are the wogs who have been shunted out of their communities. Artists and junkies and faggots and whores, the sons and the daughters no longer talked about, no longer admitted into the arms of family”.11 Ari’s trip ends in the West, “a dumping ground; a sewer of refugees, the migrants, the poor, the insane, the unskilled and the uneducated”.12 Multicultural Melbourne is not responding to the promise of egalitarianism: the town is marked by chasms that divide it, and instead of solidarity, it is a place of alienation, mutual racism, even within families and communities.

  • 13  Tsiolkas, p. 64, p. 51.

6Hate and violence is a leitmotiv in the novel: Ari’s nihilism has pushed him to believe that “Everyone hates everyone else”, that “a web of hatred connects the planet”.13 Racism is extended to ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality. In fact, unable to identify his own self with any place or with any given social categories, and because he is subject of multi-minority groups (class, gender, sex, race, ethnicity, social etc.), Ari defines himself by default, through a process of deconstruction, and more, a process of counteridentification. He rebels against the model of normativity and conformity, in a very provocative way. It is significant, for example, that Ari mainly expresses himself in the negative form: he does not say what he is, but what he is not. This is the only way he found to negotiate his own self within the dominant culture. For example, although he has no problem with his homoerotic desire, he rejects the label of “gay”. He says:

  • 14  Tsiolkas, pp. 114-115.

Faggot I don’t mind. I like the word. I like queer. I like the Greek word pousti. I hate the word gay. Hate the word homosexual. I like the word wog, can’t stand dago, ethnic or Greek-Australian. You’re either Greek or Australian, you have to make a choice. Me, I’m neither; it’s not that I can’t decide; I don’t like definitions. If I was black, I’d call myself nigger.14

  • 15  Tsiolkas, p. 39.
  • 16 Judith Butler, Bodies that matter. On the discursive limits of "sex", New York, Routeldge, 1993, p. (...)
  • 17 Ben Authers, «I’m Not Australian, I’m Not Greek, I’m Not Anything”: Identity and the Multicultural (...)

7As words – and, for the most part, naming – are a place of violence, Ari’s discomfort crystallizes in the use of language. For example, his use of the term “wog” is meaningful. Ari appropriates this slang pejorative term, traditionally used by the dominant, to define himself, and he subverts it, but he cannot stand being defined as a wog by others.15 His attention to discourse evokes the necessity, expressed by Judith Butler in Bodies that matter, to “lay claim to the power to name oneself and determine the conditions under which that name is used”.16 As Ben Authers puts it, “in Loaded, words and naming have the potential to refuse the violence of categorization [...] Denying others linguistic control can thus undermine the normative power of language, just as queer has been reclaimed as a term of self-definition”.17

  • 18  Tsiolkas, p. 35.
  • 19  Tsiolkas, p. 92.

8Moreover, Ari is aware of how others identify him but he is caught in many contradictions. For example, as a Greek man, he is perceived by white women as a cliché of Greek macho. When he meets two young white women at the tram stop, he is sure that they hate him, as a wog, and he plays up to it: “A wave of anger hits me. […] I’m tempted to do something stupid like harass them […] do something to confirm all their worst impressions about me”.18 On the other side, and even if he claims to “hate the macho shit”19, he is conforming to it and rejects a lover, George, who has been feminized. Doing this, he is paradoxically reinforcing the dominant heterosexual male culture and the current homophobia in Greek culture that he has internalized. It is also significant that he does not socially assume his homoerotic sexuality, and avoids a coming-out, not to be ostracized by his family and the whole Greek community.

  • 20  Jose Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, Minneapol (...)
  • 21  Tsiolkas, p. 144.
  • 22  Tsiolkas, p. 139.

9Ari suffers from his deep identity trouble, caused by his failure to identify himself with any given identity categories in a multicultural society in which, according to him, there is not unity but hate. In fact, he is in a position of questioning about both ethnic and gender identity. Caught into many paradoxes, he tries to escape the violence of categorization by his use of language and by performativity, through a process of disidentification.20 The novel gives us a very pessimistic and critical vision of multicultural Australia, depicted as a place of continuous violence within all communities, replaying the dialectic of dominant versus dominated. And Tsiolkas does not give us any solution. “There is no America. There is no New world”.21 But the main message may be, as Ari argues, that “The Truth is yours. It doesn’t belong to no one else”.22 With his first novel, Tsiolkas is close to queer theory, as he argues that identity is individual.

  • 23  From that point of view, Aristi Trendel argues that the novel includes the immigrant novel of the (...)
  • 24  As George Prévélakis puts it: “In the English speaking world, and especially in the USA and in Aus (...)
  • 25  Eugenides, p. 67.
  • 26  Eugenides, p. 84.
  • 27  Eugenides, p. 82.
  • 28  Eugenides, p. 75.

10In Middlesex, the narrator and protagonist, Cal/Callie Stephanides, is a hermaphrodite and also a person of Greek descent, a third-generation Greek-American. His quest of personal identity is an obligation from his sexual difference, as he discovers his sexual hybridity. Because of a 5-alpha-reductase deficiency syndrome, Cal/Callie appears female at birth and through her childhood, and she only experiences the masculinization at puberty. From this unusual transformation emerges a self-reflexivity, with a series of questions about gender, sexuality, but also about ethnicity. The identity quest of Cal/Callie is deeply linked with the immigrant experience of his family which is replayed in the narrative and it has to be said that the novel is also the saga of a three generations Greek family who construct/deconstruct their Americanness and their Greekness. The gender and ethnic identity quest of Cal/Callie is rooted in the larger perspective of the history of his family, and in the historical background of the US.23 In many ways, the story of the Stephanides is representative of that of Greek diaspora in the US.24 The novel traces the emblematic evolution of Cal’s family through three generations. In the case of the Stephanides, it was the grandparents who came first to America, after the Asia Minor Catastrophe in 1922, following a massive exodus of Greek people leaving from Anatolia. The circumstances of their exodus are very special, because from brother and sister, Cal’s grandparents, passionately attracted to one another, get married during their trip to America. Cal/Callie says about his grandfather, Lefty, that “He seized the opportunity of transatlantic travel to reinvent himself. […] Aware that whatever happened now would become the truth, that whatever he seemed to be would become what he was – already an American, in other words –”.25 So, thanks to their new life in the new world, the couple gets rid of their past, of what defines themselves (ethnicity and civil status), through a movement of deconstruction / reconstruction. So did their cousin Sourmelina when she arrived in America : “In the five years since leaving Turkey, Sourmelina had managed to erase just about everything identifiably Greek about her, from her hair […], to her accent, which had migrated far enough west to sound vaguely “European”, to her reading material […], to her favorite food […], and finally to her clothes […]”.26 Concerning Lefty’s wife, Desdemona, the transition was not so easy. She does not “want to look like an Americanidha”27 and she does not understand the American policy concerning immigrant people. For example, she says: “They should let us speak Greek if they’re so accepting”.28

  • 29  Eugenides, p. 101.

11During the first years in America, they sometimes had to face everyday racism. For example, such a scene is described during a visit at home of two men from the Ford Sociological Department who ask if they often bathe or if they often brush their teeth, so the grandfather answers them: “We are civilized people” and then uncle Zizmo says “The Greeks built the Parthenon and the Egyptians built the pyramids back when the Anglo-Saxons were still dressing in animal skins”.29

  • 30  Eugenides, p. 492.

12For the second generation, Cal’s parents, they exemplify the model of assimilation and integration. They are depicted by Doctor Luce, Cal’s doctor, as “assimilationist and very “all-American” in their outlook”, but with “deeper ethnic identity”.30 They follow the American Dream and get to upward mobility. Following the cliché of the Greek immigrant who becomes a restaurant-ownership, Cal/Callie’s father, Milton, creates a chain of hot dog restaurants:

  • 31  Eugenides, p. 93.

My grandfather’s short employ at the Ford Motor Company marked the only time any Stephanides has ever worked in the automobile industry. Instead of cars, we would become manufacturers of hamburger platters and Greek salads, industrialists of spanakopita and grilled cheese sandwiches, technocrats of rice pudding and banana cream pie. Our assembly line was the grill; our heavy machinery, the soda fountain.31

  • 32 Eugenides, p. 275.

13McDonald’s has Golden Arches?” he said. “We’ve got the Pillars of Hercules”. […] The pillars combined his Greek heritage with the colonial architecture of his beloved native land. Milton’s pillars were the Parthenon and the Supreme Court Building; they were the Herakles of myth as well as the Hercules of Hollywood movies.”32

  • 33  Eugenides, p. 337.

14The Pillars of Hercules, symbol of their assimilation. Even if Milton is very attached to his Greekness, as an ethnic situation, he refuses to live in the Greek town of Detroit, but finally finds a house up to the Grosse Point, the upper class suburb, “where you go to wash yourself of ethnicity” he says.33

15The protagonist, Calliopi/Callie/Cal, is part of the third generation. As a little girl, she identifies herself as and feels like an American child. She becomes aware of her ethnicity at school. After Judge Roth’s desegregation plan, Cal/Callie goes to a private school, Backer & Inglis, mostly frequented by WASPS (Callie call them the Charm Bracelets). And she does not understand why she is considered as an ethnic girl:

  • 34  Eugenides, p. 298.

“Ethnic” girls we were called but then who wasn’t, when you got right down to it? Weren’t the Charm Bracelets every bit as ethnic? Weren’t they as full of strange rituals and food? Of tribal speech? […] Until we came to Backer & Inglis my friends and I had always felt completely American. But now the Bracelets’ upturned noses suggested that there was another America to which we could never gain admittance. All of a sudden America wasn’t about hamburgers and hot rods anymore. It was about the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock.34

  • 35  Eugenides, p. 191.
  • 36  Eugenides, p. 322.
  • 37  Eugenides, p. 341: “Greece, Asia Minor, Mount Olympus, what did they have to do with me?”
  • 38  Eugenides, p. 374.

16Callie was baptized and brought up in the Orthodox faith, following all Greek customs, but she does not speak Greek anymore, following the progressive loss of the Greek language which began with his father.35 Even if she is curious about Greece36, she does not feel the relation with this so-called home country37 and she sometimes rejects her Greek roots.38 Finally, outside of the Greek environment in which she grew up (religion, Greek words, food etc.), Cal/Callie has a very abstract perception of her ethnicity which is based on many stereotypes associated with the concept of Greek cultural continuity since Antiquity (the main cultural markers being ancient Greek history, literature, mythology, but also Greek Orthodox religion). The text contains numerous references to ancient Greek literature, including Homer and mythology (with recurring characters such as the Minotaur or Tiresias).

  • 39  Eugenides, p. 296.

17Furthermore, the ethnic issue in the novel is not exclusively related to Greekness. The sociological and historical context and background remind us of other “minorities” in the US and of the complex relationships between these minorities: Muslims, Blacks, race riots in Detroit in 1967, racial segregation, but also the Gay Rights Movement which was under way, and later the Intersex Society of North America etc. The mutual gaze between different groups, ethnic or other, and the relations of superiority/inferiority even affect WASPS. For example, in Detroit, where the East suburbs symbolize the upper class and well-established communities, everybody, even the Charm Bracelets and their parents, want “to be not Midwesterners but Easterners, to they affect their dress and lockjaw speech”.39 This is to say that the novel also contains a larger reflection about the relations between diverse communities and always undermines the notion of hierarchy. In Middlesex, every community has defined and internalized its own hierarchy and its normative categories, which is presented as a synonym of alienation. The society that Eugenides draws in his novel is far from the ideal of the melting pot as a harmonious cultural plurality.

  • 40  Eugenides, p. 413.
  • 41 The Observer, Sunday 6 October 2002 http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0, (...)
  • 42 Eugenides, p. 520: “After I returned from San Francisco and started living as a male, my family fou (...)
  • 43 Eugenides, p. 106.
  • 44  Homi Bhabha, The location of culture, London, New York, Routledge, 1994.
  • 45 Eugenides, p. 479: “Not the evolutionary biologists’ and not Luce’s either. My psychological makeup (...)

18In that context, the question of gender and sexual identity functions as a metaphor in the novel. Because of unusual sexual circumstances, Cal/Callie discovers that she is not a girl, neither a boy, but a transgendered character. In addition to chromosomal and hormonal factors, Cal’s sex of rearing (which had been female) had to be considered.40 Cal’s parents only dreamt of a daughter and when they finally seek medical help, they want to follow Doctor Luce’s recommendation for their daughter to remain a girl. Instead, willing to choose her destiny, Cal/Callie decides to avoid hormonal treatments and genital surgery which would help her to become a girl, in order to make the transition to a male identity. As Eugenides argues himself: “my narrator is determined by her genes, […] but the mutation does not make her what she is […] There is still a great amount of free will”.41 This choice is meaningful: when Callie becomes Cal, except from a social point of view because she started to dress like a boy, she remains what she had always been because “gender is not all that important”42 she says. So Cal remains a hermaphrodite, attracted to girls (“But we hermaphrodites are people like everybody else”43). This choice is that of an in-between, which reminds us of the third space of Homi Bhabha.44 It corresponds to a very flexible view of identity and invites us to reconsider what gender categories mean, “female” and “male,” and, more importantly, what “normal” means, because, according to Cal, “it’s not as simple as that. I don’t fit into any of these categories.”45

  • 46 Eugenides, p. 106.

19Therefore Cal takes charge of his own destiny. He takes his distance from all categories, from collective identities and decides to build his own individual identity, in a way that reminds of Butler’s performativity. No matter if all social groups want him to make a clear choice to fit with given social categories, because such fixed identities do not exist. In the construction of ethnicity, Cal makes his own choice: he avoids the binary choice he is supposed to make, between Americanness and Greekness and between male and female. He does not want to define himself as an “all-American girl” because, he says: “I don’t like groups. […] I live my own life and nurse my own wounds. It’s not the best way to live. But it’s the way I am”.46

  • 47  Bhabha, The location of culture, pp. 1-2.

20As a conclusion, I could say that Loaded and Middlesex show the erosion of the traditional understanding of both ethnic identity and gender identity. Describing the limits of multiculturalism, the two authors seem to reject any given identity category, unable to fit to individual subjectivities. This is why both Ari and Calliopi, in order to finally find their own self “in the middle”, a hybrid identity, have to first deconstruct the categorization they are supposed to respond to (as persons of Greek descent or as persons identified through their gender). These two postmodern novels are close to queer theory. As their protagonists negotiate strategies of resistance within denaturalizing discourses, Tsiolkas and Eugenides deconstruct power relations by asserting the limits of identity categories and cultural outlooks of the normal. Instead of community, they develop the idea of individual subjectivity and the possibility to construct a composite self, as hybridity and performativity seem to be the key concepts of those novels. Against the violence of categorization, they offer the possibility of an in-between which, according to Homi Bhabha, “provide[s] the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood […] that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration and contestation […]”.47

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Notes

1  Christos Tsiolkas, Loaded, London, Vintage Books, 1997; Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, London, Bloomsbury, 2002.

2  Tsiolkas, p. 149.

3  Tsiolkas, p. 12.

4  Tsiolkas, p. 21.

5  Tsiolkas, p. 138.

6  Tsiolkas, p. 43: “Ethnicity is a scam, a bullshit, a piece of crock. The forteresses of the rich wogs on the hill are there not to keep the Australezo out, but to refuse entry to the uneducated-long-haired-bleached-blonde-no-money wog. No matter what the roots of the rich wogs, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Arab, whatever, I’d like to get a gun and shoot them all. Bang bang.”

7  Tsiolkas, pp. 142-143: “This is another urban myth. It is about solidarity. The myth goes something like this; we may be poor, may be treated like scum, but we stick together, we are a community. The arrival of the ethnics put paid to that myth in Australia. In the working-class suburbs of the West where communal solidarity is meant to flourish, the skip sticks with the skip, the wog with the wog, the gook with the gook, and the abo with the abo. Solidarity, like love, is a crock of shit. […] Community. Don’t comprehend that word. The mania of our culture is to accumulate and accumulate, to become richer, to become classier, to become more secure, wealthier. It is impossible to feel camaraderie if the dominant wish is to get enough money, enough possessions to rise above the community you are in.”

8  Tsiolkas, p. 43.

9  Tsiolkas, p. 41.

10  Tsiolkas, p. 82.

11  Tsiolkas, p. 132.

12  Tsiolkas, pp. 143-144.

13  Tsiolkas, p. 64, p. 51.

14  Tsiolkas, pp. 114-115.

15  Tsiolkas, p. 39.

16 Judith Butler, Bodies that matter. On the discursive limits of "sex", New York, Routeldge, 1993, p. 227.

17 Ben Authers, «I’m Not Australian, I’m Not Greek, I’m Not Anything”: Identity and the Multicultural Nation in Christos Tsiolkas’s Loaded», Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, vol. 4, 2005, pp. 140-141: “Thus, in Loaded, words and naming have the potential to refuse the violence of categorisation where they are used ‑ as both Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick have suggested with the term queer ‑ to “signify only when attached to the first person” (Sedgwick 9). Denying others linguistic control can thus undermine the normative power of language, just as queer has been reclaimed as a term of self-definition.”

18  Tsiolkas, p. 35.

19  Tsiolkas, p. 92.

20  Jose Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

21  Tsiolkas, p. 144.

22  Tsiolkas, p. 139.

23  From that point of view, Aristi Trendel argues that the novel includes the immigrant novel of the grandparents and, with the parents’ story, Eugenides turns to the ethnic novel. Aristi Trendel, «The Reinvention of Identity in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex», European journal of American studies, n°2, 2011, Oslo Conference Special Issue, p. 3. Online since april 2011. URL : http://ejas.revues.org/9036

24  As George Prévélakis puts it: “In the English speaking world, and especially in the USA and in Australia, Greeks follow an ascending social orbit. The first generation of often illiterate villagers worked hard in order to survive and to bring up their children. The second generation is already well off. The third generation occupies enviable positions in the intellectual elite, in liberal professions, in the business world.”, in George Prévélakis, «Finis Greciae or the Return of the Greeks? State and Diaspora in the Context of Globalisation», working paper of the Transnational Communities Programme, 1998. Available at the Transnational Communities Programme Web site, http://www.transcomm.ox.ac.uk/working_papers.htm (WPTC-98-14) (last visit on 11th February 2013).

25  Eugenides, p. 67.

26  Eugenides, p. 84.

27  Eugenides, p. 82.

28  Eugenides, p. 75.

29  Eugenides, p. 101.

30  Eugenides, p. 492.

31  Eugenides, p. 93.

32 Eugenides, p. 275.

33  Eugenides, p. 337.

34  Eugenides, p. 298.

35  Eugenides, p. 191.

36  Eugenides, p. 322.

37  Eugenides, p. 341: “Greece, Asia Minor, Mount Olympus, what did they have to do with me?”

38  Eugenides, p. 374.

39  Eugenides, p. 296.

40  Eugenides, p. 413.

41 The Observer, Sunday 6 October 2002 http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,805334,00.htm

42 Eugenides, p. 520: “After I returned from San Francisco and started living as a male, my family found that, contrary to popular opinion, gender was not all that important. My change from girl to boy was far less dramatic than the distance anybody travels from infancy to adulthood. In most ways I remained the person I’d always been.”

43 Eugenides, p. 106.

44  Homi Bhabha, The location of culture, London, New York, Routledge, 1994.

45 Eugenides, p. 479: “Not the evolutionary biologists’ and not Luce’s either. My psychological makeup doesn’t accord with essentialism popular in the intersex movement, either. Unlike other so-called male pseudohermaphrodites who have been written about in the press, I never felt out of place being a girl. I still don’t feel entirely at home among men. Desire made me cross over to the other side, desire and the facticity of my body. […] And so a strange new possibility is arising. Compromised, indefinite, sketchy, but not entirely obliterated: free will is making a comeback. Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.”

46 Eugenides, p. 106.

47  Bhabha, The location of culture, pp. 1-2.

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Sophie COAVOUX, « Greek Diaspora and Hybrid Identities: Transnational and Transgender Perspectives in Two novels: Loaded, by Christos Tsiolkas (Australia) and Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (USA) », Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化 [En ligne], 7 | 2012, mis en ligne le 02 décembre 2012, consulté le 27 juin 2017. URL : http://transtexts.revues.org/451 ; DOI : 10.4000/transtexts.451

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Sophie COAVOUX

Sophie COAVOUX is Assistant Professor in Modern Greek Studies at the Jean Moulin University, Lyon and a member of the IETT (Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies). Her work focuses on modern Greek literature, diaspora and gender.
Sophie COAVOUX est Maître de conférences de grec moderne à l’Université Jean Moulin (Lyon) et membre de l’IETT (Institut d'Études Transtextuelles et Transculturelles). Elle travaille sur la littérature grecque moderne et sur les questions de la diaspora et du genre.

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