Chapter 1.docx - Chapter 1 Winterson titles the eight chapters of her book after the first eight chapters of the Old Testament Winterson's appropriation

Chapter 1.docx - Chapter 1 Winterson titles the eight...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 15 pages.

Chapter 1Winterson titles the eight chapters of her book after the first eight chapters of the Old Testament. Winterson's appropriation of these titles relates to her desire to illustrate the relativity and subjectivity of various texts. At the same time, the themes of Winterson's chapters roughly correspond with the themes of the biblical books. For example, the biblical book of Genesisdescribes the beginnings of the world, man, and the tribes of Israel. Likewise, Winterson's chapter also tells of Jeanette's beginnings, describing Jeanette, her placementin her family, and her unique family life.Other religious references dominate this chapter. Winterson describes Jeanette's adoption with imagery and language from the New Testament. Jeanette's mother, who abhors sex, sees the adoption almost as an immaculate conception because she received a child without having sex. For this reason, Jeanette's mother was "bitter that Mary got there first." Just as Jeanette's mother can be compared to Mary since she acquired a child without having sex, so too does Winterson parallel Jeanette and Christ. The star that led her mother to Jeanette's crib corresponds with the star of Bethlehem that once led the Magi to the Messiah. After Jeanette's mother found her, Jeanette cried out for seven days and seven nights while being taunted by demons, much in the same way that Christ stood tempted by the Devil for the same time in the desert. Jeanette's mother confirms Jeanette's position as a Christ figure by convincing Jeanette that her destiny lies in changing the world. Because of her mother's propaganda, Jeanette herself reports that from a very young age she always knew that she was special. Ironically, this specialness most obviously relates to her future as a lesbian, a group often categorized as "special," rather than as a Christlike figure whom she may also become.Winterson foreshadows Jeanette's future lesbianism, and thus the future plot movement, several times in this chapter. The gypsy woman's prediction that Jeanette will not marry will eventually turn out to be true. The two women who
run the paper shop obviously are lesbians, although Jeanette doesn't understand this at the age of seven. The present that these women give Jeanette, a banana bar, ironically comments upon their, and Jeanette's future, sexually identity. The bar suggests their rejection of heterosexuality since it represents a phallic item, a banana, which has been physically transformed. The way that Jeanette's mother hostilely treats these lesbians additionally foreshadows the way that she later will reject Jeanette. The dualistic world that Jeanette's mother sees, with either enemies or friends, also foreshadows the difficulties that Jeanette will face. Her emerging lesbianism will place her ina gray space that does not exist for her mother. Eventually her mother will not know if Jeanette is clearly a friend or an enemy. This conflict over binary viewsof the world is central to post-modern ideology that seeks to unravel such dualisms.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture