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January 23, 2018

Prejudice and its
Place in ‘Middlesex’ and ‘Stones from the River’

a commonly known issue in the history of the world. Defined as being a preconceived
thought or idea not based upon any logic or experiences, prejudice occurs
almost every day. When meeting a new person, one will form a judgement whether
they know the person or not, instantly deciding if they like the person they
have met. In school, students are taught about the history of the world,
settlers travelling from their homelands to discover new places, meeting the
inhabitants of the lands they found; but also of the judgements made against
the people there, based on their living conditions, appearances, and language
barriers. These judgements, evident from early history through to today,
clearly show that prejudice is a part of the human nature, and accountable for
the harsh treatments of many groups of people. Prejudice is also noted in
literary works such as Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex,
and Ursula Hegi’s Stones from the
River. These two novels explore the thematic topic of prejudice, as well as
the struggles of growing up. Both main characters start off as young children,
their journey leading the reader through their lives growing up in a world filled
with prejudice and the confusion that comes with growing older. Middlesex follows the Stephanides family
history, before leading into the life of Calliope/Cal and the consequences of
hermaphroditism. The Stephanides are a family of Grecian descent, Eleutherios
and Desdemona travelling from their home to America in 1922. The narrative
recounts three generations of Stephanides, the first two parts of the novel
focusing primarily on times before Calliope. The last two parts focusing on
Calliope and the transitioning into Cal. In Stones
from the River, the narrative takes place in Burgdorf, Germany, in 1915.
Trudi Montag is a Zwerg, or dwarf, who tries for the majority of her youth to
come up with solutions to grow. It is Trudi’s belief that the madness her
mother possesses is due to Trudi’s disproportionate body, desperately craving
her mother’s wellbeing as well as her affection. In the novel, Trudi is disliked
by many of the children her age, and is treated very poorly do to her
differences. While reading Middlesex and
Stones from the River, it is clear to
see that prejudice can be a dangerous tool against others, and causes those who
are visible minorities to feel isolated; forcing them to take desperate
measures to attempt to fit into societal moulds. Prejudice is explored
thoroughly through the use of religion, physical and mental states, and
external social forces acting upon the characters.