Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

A Hardbound God in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit College

A woman climbs into the pulpit and begins to preach. Her words are persuasive and moving, and many believe that she speaks from the Spirit. She is a woman of faith who longs to fulfill her mother’s desire for her to become a missionary. She is smart and she is pious. And according to her congregation, she is an abomination.

This gifted preacher is Jeanette, the protagonist in Jeanette Winterson’s “quirky, unconventional, and often comic” novel "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" (Merriam-Webster 1207). As was Winterson herself, the book’s protagonist is raised in a climate of religious fanaticism. Her family’s DEEDS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT tablecloth is only one indication of its unswerving devotion to biblical fundamentalism. But just as the word "Bible" means not “a book,” but “a collection of books,” so "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" is not a story but a collection of stories. Ranging from the wry to the fanciful, these related anecdotes tell the tale not only of Jeanette’s life, but also a tale about storytelling itself. Through the postmodern use of story frames, Winterson both constructs and deconstructs her own narrative, and in doing so, she builds Jeanette an escape hatch from the snares of...

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