Jeanette Winterson's Oranges

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In her novel Oranges Are not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson describes the conflictual relationship between a profoundly religious adoptive mother and her lesbian daughter, Jeanette. The writer’s decision to give the main character her own name reflects the autobiographical content of the novel, since the story is based on the author’s own life. The first part of the chapter examines how the whole story can be interpreted as a fairy tale, and how the mother’s role profoundly changes according to her attitude towards the heroine-narrator. Secondly, the final reconciliation between the two female characters is analysed. Finally, the reasons for the adoptive mother’s rejection of Jeanette’s lesbian nature are discussed. The whole story is told…show more content…
As a consequence, she presents a very personal account of her mother and her behaviour, changing her view and her opinion according to how well or badly she feels her mother is treating her. As the narrator consistently intertwines her own personal story with fairy tales, it is useful to analyse the whole narrative according to Vladimir Propp’s character theory. In his work Morphology of the Folktale, Propp identifies thirty-one key-narrative developing functions that served as stable, constant elements of the fairy tale which bring sequential changes to a specified initial situation, usually performed by seven character…show more content…
After her detachment from the familiar environment, Jeanette has acquired a new awareness that will make it possible for her to face her mother without being claimed by her. The girl’s self has grown towards wholeness and, as in a rite of passage, after the separation and the initiation, Jeanette is ready for her return home after having completed the quest in search for herself. Thanks to her newly acquired maturity, and being aware that she is unable to recede the ‘thread around the button’ that links her to the adoptive mother, Jeanette decides to make the first step towards the woman, recognising in her someone who just did her best to raise a child in the way she thought it was right. Just as her mother had initially chosen her, now Jeanette deliberately chooses her
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