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Role of Women in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

Role of Women in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

In the novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson, most of the important, decision-making, characters are female. Jeanette, the female protagonist, is greatly influenced by her mother, a strong, overbearing, eccentric woman, and by Elsie, a prominent member of the family parish who becomes Jeanette’s only friend and closest confidant. Elsie and Jeanette’s mother act as polar forces in Jeanette’s life, with the mother encouraging suppression of “unholy” or “unnatural” feelings and thoughts, and Elsie encouraging expression of feelings and accepting oneself for who one really is.

Jeanette’s mother, referred to by name only once in the novel, is probably the second most important character in the book, outdone only by the protagonist herself. She acts not as a role model, but as an example of what not to become, of a lifestyle to reject. Throughout the book, Mother encourages suppression of feelings she defines as unholy by way of personal example and by her attempted repression of Jeanette’s homosexuality. An…

Revenge and Hatred in Sylvia Plath’s Daddy

Revenge and Hatred in Plath’s Daddy

The power of Plath’s Daddy to threaten, shock and move the reader remains undiminished, years after it was written. To the unsuspecting reader, the experience of first reading “Daddy” is a confusion of discomfort, excitement and guilty pleasure, for the pleasures of revenge are said to be sweet, and this is a revenge poem of the first rank. Revenge upon whom? Father? Perhaps, more likely, upon her husband. And her aim was true, for if anything Plath wrote damaged Ted Hughes for posterity, “Daddy” is it. From this poem, we gather our indelible impressions of Hughes as a brute, a wife beater, a vampire, even an implied racist and murderer (if we extend the Hitler metaphor to its fullest implications) . . . on and on.

The controversial Holocaust imagery can be directly linked to the period in which the poem was written. In 1961, the entire world was riveted by the Jerusalem trial of Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolph Eichmann (who was executed in 1962, a few months before “Daddy” was written). This was the first televised trial in history, an…

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