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Transgressing Boundaries in Jeanette Winterson’s Fiction


Sonia Front

The subsequent chapters of the book deal with selected questions from Jeanette Winterson’s fiction, such as gender issues, love and eroticism, language and time, constituting areas within which Winterson’s characters seek their identity. As they contest and repudiate clichés, stereotypes and patterns, their journey of self-discovery is accomplished through transgression. The book analyzes how the subversion of phallogocentric narrative and scenarios entails the reenvisaging of relations between the genders and reconceptualization of female desire. The author attempts to determine the consequences of Winterson’s manipulations with gender, sexuality and time, and her disruption of the binary system.


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I. What if image smashed the glass?' — The Mise-en-scne of the Conflict 19


Chapter I: 'What if image smashed the glass?' — The Mise-en-scne of the Conflict Everyone, at some time in their life, must choose whether to stay with a ready-made world that may be safe but which is also limiting, or to push forward, often past the frontiers of commonsense, into a personal space, unknown and untried. /Jeanette Winterson: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruitl Jeanette Winterson's characters live in the patriarchal culture in which gender entails the attribution of social roles, appearance and sexual orientation. As they do not identify themselves with these significations inscribed on their bodies, gender becomes a burden for them. They decline to be bestowed identity on the basis of gender, and therefore they seek to reformulate their selves. Winterson's protagonists refuse to accept the world where gender serves the heterosexual imperative, and one can surpass neither gender nor heterosexuality, otherwise one risks ostracism, as Judith Butler asserts. Each act of performing gender poses repetition of the codes connected with femaleness and maleness, taking part in the masquerade with pre-given roles and costumes. To become a subject recognized in the social arena, one must move within the boundaries of heterosexual matrix, complying with reiteration of a set of permissible ways of behaviour, the code of dressing and the way of moving which are already infused with social meanings. The formulae pose the vindication of non-existence of the pre-inscriptive body, which many theorists, including Butler, support, proclaiming that "there is no recourse to a body that has...

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