Chapter 19 Summary

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At the start of the nineteenth chapter, “Tiresias in Love,” Tessie informs her daughter that she has made an appointment her with Dr. Bauer, a gynecologist. Callie is concerned, but she is primarily focused on her next day with the Obscure Object. Callie has been invited to go to the Grosse Point Club, or the “Little Club,” as the Obscure Object’s family calls it. While they are there, Callie meets the Object’s brother, Jerome, who has been kicked out of two boarding schools. He is planning to make a movie, Vampire in Prep School, and the vampire will be the headmaster. Jerome explains that it is a metaphor. The day turns into a slumber party and as Callie rubs the Object’s back, she asks whether the Object knows anything about gynecologists. The Object explains that being examined by a gynecologist “kills.” If Callie had her way, she would spend the entire summer with the Object. However, Milton is planning a trip to Greece to paint a church as repayment to St. Christopher. It is the summer of 1974, and Callie is too focused on the Object to follow the news of heightening tensions around the Mediterranean.

Worried about her appointment with Dr. Bauer, Callie begins going to church again. She worries over “the metal things that would spread my legs and of the metal doohickey that would spread something else” and she dreads “what all this spreading might reveal.” At church, Callie prays for her period to begin, while Tessie prays for Chapter Eleven, who has dropped out of college to “live off the land” and return to his studies. They sit near Zoë, who has four children: Aristotle, Socrates, Cleopatra, and Plato. Callie is always struck by the way that Aunt Zoë and Father Mike change when they are at church. Father Mike “appeared and disappeared with the capriciousness of a divinity,” whereas outside the church he seems like a diminutive man who does not make enough money to provide his children with fine church clothes.

Zoë, meanwhile, is subdued at church, but when she comes over to the house for Sunday dinners, she is more charismatic and she is always able to make Tessie laugh. Callie explains that Zoë is happier in America, but that the best period of Father Mike’s priesthood was his several years in Greece, perhaps because “nobody pitied him for being a priest, whereas later on in America his parishioners always treated him with a slight but unmistakable condescension, like a crazy person whose delusions had to be humored. The humiliation of being a priest in a market economy didn’t plague Father Mike while he was in Greece.” Back in the United States, Zoë jokes to Tessie that she does not have to be in church because she is not married to a priest, so why go?

The summer proceeds with Milton beginning to pack his suitcases and Callie tanning her legs with the Object at the Little Club. They go to a party one evening and Rex Reese appears with Jerome. Jerome begins talking to Callie while Rex talks to the Object. Jerome boasts that he will start filming soon, and claims that it will be genius. Callie is unimpressed and Jerome admits that he just wants to make scary movies with “occasional nudity.” Callie notices that the Object enjoys Rex’s attention, even though he is notorious for having driven a car into a lake, killing his girlfriend. Although Rex was able to swim ashore, his then-girlfriend, Carol Henkel, was not. Callie makes up an excuse to remove themselves from Rex and...

(This entire section contains 787 words.)

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Jerome, though the Object is not happy about it. As the Object rests her head on Callie’s shoulder, she says that it is a good thing that the Stephanides are about to leave for Greece because their relationship has gotten “too weird.”

On July 20th, Turkey sends jets across the sea, and they are hidden from the Cypriot military’s radar. There are American ships nearby, which some believe are there to keep the Greeks from becoming involved. Regardless, the Stephanides are furious about the invasion of Cyprus. They point out that Turkey does not have the ability to jam the Cypriot radar, but that the American military does. Has Kissinger made a deal with the Turks to secure a NATO base in Turkey? The furious debates continue at every Sunday dinner until the family stops meeting for them.

At church, Callie tells her mother that she is having stomach pains. Tessie is relieved. The invasion means that the trip to Greece is cancelled, so Callie calls the Object and tells her that the trip is cancelled and that she has cramps.

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