Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does Jeanette Winterson discuss reality in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit?

    Winterson portrays the theme of reality within the novel by questioning the reliability behind it. Through a series of mythical tales, many of which are close representations of the protagonist's life, Winterson presents the idea that reality is distinct to an individual and never truly understood by another. Furthermore, she also highlights the reality for those trapped by the strict restrictions of certain establishments such as religion. Winterson also illustrates the reality for a child suffering with long-term implications due to certain pressures from their parent. In the novel, Jeanette's mother's overwhelming radical beliefs leave Jeanette permanently harmed by her intense ideals and perspective, causing severe problems for her in the future. Winterson also discusses the lack of control Jeanette has over her own reality due to the dominant characters and their beliefs which surround her, mirroring the truth for many outside the novel.

  2. 2

    How is religion portrayed in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit?

    Jeanette Winterson is highly critical of religion throughout the novel. Despite being brought up in an Evangelical congregation herself, she constantly presents the idea that religion is to blame for much of the hardship the protagonist experiences due to her Church's disapproval of her sexuality. Religion is often illustrated to be a patronising and cruel establishment by Winterson, especially during Jeanette's exorcism in the novel and the mistreatment of her after the pastor's discovery of her affair with her friend Melanie. Moreover, Winterson highlights the hypocrisy of the Church through the idea that it is the religious believers surrounding her that appear to make God's decisions for him. In spite of the fact that Jeanette eventually feels very close to God, it is evident that the beliefs that crowded her younger years are simply the interpretations of the other Church members.

  3. 3

    How does Winterson identify binary factors in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit?

    Jeanette Winterson's novel is founded greatly on the debate over the existence of binary opposites. The author makes it clear that Jeanette's mother, and her friends, fully believe that there is a bold line separating "friends and...enemies", whilst Jeanette and Ms Jewsbury totally disagree. Jeanette's mother splits the world into two groups: the things she likes and the things she does not. She fails to accept that there is anyone who lays in-between the two groups. Similarly, she does not believe that anyone can be both a lesbian and a follower of the Church as homosexuality goes against the Bible's words. Jeanette, however, does not share these beliefs, and her own character represents that binary factors do not exist as she exists as both a lesbian and a religious believer. Furthermore, Jeanette fails to identify as a 'traditional' woman due to the fact that she does not love men. Through this Winterson challenges the restrictions between the two sexes, which could be interpreted as Winterson expressing the fact that genders are simply socially constructed.

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