In 2002, Jeffery Eugenides wrote the novel Middlesex, which became a best seller and Pulitzer Prize winner. The narrative follows the narrator and protagonist Callie or "Cal" Stephanides, who has 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, which causes him to have some female characterizes. This is commonly referred to as an intersex condition, typically brought about by incest, which was depicted in the relationship between Callie’s grandparents, who are siblings, and Cal’s parents, who are cousins. This Bildungsroman novel contains multiple allusions to Greek mythology.
Since Callie appears to the outside world to be female, she is raised traditionally as a young woman. After an accident puts her in the hospital, the intersex condition is revealed, and Callie changes her name to Cal and runs away from Detroit to San Francisco to live as a man.
Cal experiences a rebirth of sorts when he changes his gender identity. This internal conflict is summarized when he says:
I never felt out of place being a girl, I still don't feel entirely at home among men.
From a societal perspective, Cal was forced to combat the social constructs associated with gender. Dr. Luce classifies Cal as having a female gender identity because of a home video that shows Cal nursing a doll.
Society likes to create boxes to compartmentalize ideas like gender identity. This idea is reinforced when Cal looks up “hermaphrodite” in the dictionary and the entry includes “See synonyms at MONSTER.”