Cal’s grandmother and the keeper of the Stephanides family’s Greek heritage, Desdemona’s character introduces the idea that fate controls a person’s destiny. As a girl, Desdemona’s mother teaches her that her own purity will affect the silk she produces, which she takes to heart. When she learns about children of incest inheriting birth defects, Desdemona hears an echo of her mother’s words because she doesn’t understand the defects in terms of genes but in terms of her children inheriting her sin and shame. Similar to the idea of genetic destiny, Desdemona believes her actions have doomed her offspring to suffering ill fates. Desdemona’s fatalistic view of the world resurfaces in her understanding of her body. In Chapter 2, Cal explains that Desdemona interprets her heart skipping a beat as a sign that she has no control over it. Metaphorically, her heart refers to one whom she loves, meaning that she cannot control her attraction to Lefty. This idea collapses Desdemona’s inability to control her emotions with her physical body and associates love with illness. Therefore, we can read Desdemona’s later infirmities as a physical manifestation of her belief in her own moral sickness, which she cannot control.