Why do you think Cal begins with his family history, instead of a story about his life?
"What is the reason for studying history?" Cal asks in Book Two, "To understand the present or to avoid it?" Cal seems to fall solidly in the first camp. The present cannot be avoided, since by definition the present is already happening, and Cal is clearly using the past as a way to understand and explain his present. Which events in the distant past does Cal use to explain himself? The most obvious is that he lays his chromosomal mutation at the first of his grandparents' incest. But are there other ways that Cal explains his current life, preferences and feelings using stories...
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