The title: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit leads me to question multiple things.
If oranges are not the only fruit, what other fruits are there? The absoluteness of her statement puzzles readers, yet at the same time, one realises also that she is brought up categorising items. The organised home and family would perhaps then imprint or inculcate an organised nature. Nurture to bring out nature.
The first few paragraphs already assure us of young Jeanette’s childhood as one without “mixed feelings”, because “[t]here were friends and there were enemies.”
Categorising it neatly into two categories:
“Enemies were: The Devil (in his many forms)
Sex (in its many forms)
Friends were: God
The Novels of Charlotte Bronte
Nonetheless, the character’s mother’s overzealous religiousity had an influence on her early years. The religious discourse engaged in the text perhaps implies a pseudo-authoritarian household with rather cult-like elements perhaps implies the nature of life as easily sorted into friends and enemies. Of course, as some of you may already know, this religious order or any form of order breaks down as the novel ends. Perhaps not ending in the [Modern] conventional sense.
Like Genesis (Bible), the character is immediately pitted against external (negative) forces with the Devil’s potential. As I shall read on later, the intertexual references to the Bible are weaved into the narrative. I foresee a certain change on dynamics as the Bible (as a textual authority) devolves into a narrative vehicle (for Winterson) to express or describe her lesbianism.
So far, there has been no sign of literary catharsis yet. I enjoyed the first chapter and this slim copy was what enticed me to have a start on this novel. The cover is not particularly enchanting but it came highly recommended by another Literature-buff of mine.
The first chapter: Genesis starts with a description of Jeanette’s mother. Highly semi-autobiographical, I have already set expectations of what to expect from this novel. However, I cannot deny that the straight-forward literary style of the author took me off-guard.
A rather rough synopsis: (although I made the mistake of telling my lovely audience readers my opinions first); Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical novel of Jeanette Winter’s experience as a missionary child and how she battled against her mother’s resistance to Winter’s lesbianism.
Of course, typical of it portraying a girl struggling against religion. Pardon my personal gripes. Living in a multi-religious society myself, I have never quite come to terms with the pressures of living in a sacred society (ie., Hindi India, Protestant Britain… ). For me, I can only imagine their pain. Their resistance.
Anyways so far, the character’s mother’s fanatical religious acts seem based on her infatuation with a pastor – completely heightening the legalisation of a lusty act.
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