In the Beginning Throes of Spring

Ever since I read Middlesex, I’ve found crocuses to be quite sexual. Yeah, I know; those crocuses are always so proud and erect, how can you not naturally draw a connection between them and sex? But I honestly never did make that connection before. But now I can’t even briefly think about them without sexual connotations. The funny thing is that it took me awhile before I realized the reoccurring motif of the crocus in Middlesex. Sure, the first time the motif appeared, I thought, “Wow, that’s a cool way to describe that.” And the connection Eugenides draws between crocuses and sex makes perfect sense: crocuses are the first flowers of spring, spring is deeply associated with mating and thus sex, and flowers are often deeply associated with sex. Thus, it’s easy to connect the dots to create a line that reads “crocuses and sex are connected.” However, Eugenides’ motif was so subtle and matter-of-factly placed that it carved a deep impression in the dark corners of my mind before I noticed it. Now I can’t get the blasted correlation out of my head.

I suppose it’s a true testament to Jeffrey Eugenides’ skill as a writer since his words made more of an impression upon me than Georgia O’Keeffe and her vagina flowers.* I’m not saying O’Keeffe is a horrible artist, since what she created was quite revolutionary for her time. However, the words of Eugenides stand out more in my mind than the constant barrage of O’Keeffe’s paintings I’ve encountered over the years. I find this quite interesting as most people would agree that images from paintings are more likely to stand out in one’s mind than images from books. And yes, I am quite partial to books and literature, but I often find that photographs and paintings can evoke powerful feelings byway of concrete imagery where books cannot. Though Eugenides certainly has done well to prove this isn’t always the case since I can’t get those damn crocuses and their sexual connotations out of my mind.

Pale yellow crocuses basking in the mid-day sun.

*It’s good to note here that there is a controversy over this topic, and that I don’t read her paintings as sexual repression like most critics who lean towards the sexual interpretation of her works.


  1. Heh, heh… you said sex.

  2. You are such a boy! 😉

  3. Heh, heh… you said "throes" and "sex" in the same essay.