The Only Fruit Archetypes

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The integration of fantasy and reality is an integral part of the young protagonist Jeanette in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. "People like to separate storytelling which is not fact from history which is fact. They do this so that they know what to believe and what not to believe" (95). Jeanette makes clear the distinction between fact and fiction, therefore clarifying the belief systems she has been brought up with, and classifying extremist worldviews--like her mother’s religious doctrine--as rigid binaries. The final two stories of the novel follow two characters named Winnet and Sir Perceval, and help Jeanette to complete her quest through a difficult life. Jeanette, now a young woman, has become acutely aware of her life’s complexities: "I loved God and I loved…show more content…
The story of Sir Perceval also jumps chapters, signaling a further crossing of boundaries. Like many of the others, the stories mix with the narrative of Jeanette's real life, signifying a more fluid connection between fantasy and reality. Sir Perceval and Winnet are specific characters instead of generic royalty or commoners. The typical archetypes from Jeanette’s earlier stories imply that these narratives fit everyone's life, and allow readers to identify with a role presented. In contrast, making the characters specific allows the reader the possibility of differentiating themselves.

The actions themselves within these two stories characterize the interior life of Jeanette’s character, first within the stories of Sir Perceval. An example is the stories’ disruption of traditional gender roles. The non-binary roles manifest within the story through the cross-gendering of characters, which expands possible identities for Jeanette. In Sir Perceval’s story, Jeanette experiments with a male. Although this in itself is a familiar concept, the gender of the character Jeanette represents highlights a possible
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