Summary: Chapter 20: Flesh and Blood

Callie starts regularly faking her period, and Tessie cancels the appointment with Dr. Bauer. Callie feels she’s taken control of her body. She accepts the Object’s invitation to go to her summer house.

The U.S. has sided with Turkey in their war with Greece. Milton, vocally siding with the U.S., alienates himself from his Greek friends. His friends stop coming to the house for Sunday dinner.

Callie goes to the Object’s family’s summer house in Petoskey. Jerome shows her around because the Object is talking with Rex, who is also in Petoskey with his family.Rex suggests they go to a hunter’s cabin in the woods and party. As they get ready, Callie teases the Object about her crush on Rex. The Object replies that Jerome has a crush on Callie. Callie complains that she doesn’t want to go into the woods.

Callie decides to ignore the Object and flirt with Jerome to get back at the Object. The four teens trudge through the cypress swamp only to find the cabin locked. While the boys try to find a window they can use to sneak in, Callie almost convinces the Object to join her in going back to the house. Soon Rex reappears in the doorway, and Callie loses sway.

Callie’s is tired of her revenge flirting scheme, but she has no choice but to go along with it. They all drink a lot, and Rex passes around a joint.Jerome and Callie start kissing. Callie looks over and sees the Object and Rex making out. Jerome pushes Callie onto one of the cots in the room. Callie focuses on the Object. She imagines being in Rex’s body as he kisses and touches the Object. Jerome pulls down Callie’s overalls and initiates sex while she is distracted. Callie panics and pushes him away.She realizes she was fully at home in Rex’s male body and believes that soon everyone will know her secret. However, Jerome didn’t actually notice anything different about her.

Analysis: Chapters 19 & 20

The Stephanides’ social conflict that arises from the United States siding with Turkey in the 1974 war highlights further crises of identity around being neither completely Greek nor completely American. Because of the binary nature of the conflict, it is impossible for Milton or his friends to side with both Greece and the United States; they will each have to choose. Although the starkness of the contrast is new, the war merely exposes choices they have already made. Milton has become more financially successful than the family friends who come to Sunday dinners, achieving the American dream by moving into a neighborhood like Grosse Pointe that discourages even assimilated second-generation families. In return, Milton has had to either downplay his Greek origins or commodify them, as does in the Hercules gimmick of his hot dog chain. His friends’ expectation that he side with Greece threatens his American identity. It also involves admitting that achieving the American dream has come at the cost of his Greekness. By not assimilating quite as much, the family friends are less successful than Milton, but they maintain a stronger Greek identity.