Throughout her writing career, Jeanette Winterson has experimented with her life experience, revisiting in particular the complex relationship with her adoptive mother, Mrs W, in such works as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985), Sexing the Cherry (1989), and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal (2011). This article examines the complex mother-daughter relationship between Jeanette and Mrs W to illustrate the birth of a feminist writer. In answer to her mother’s confiscation of her birth narrative, Jeanette Winterson has fictionalized Mrs W to alter traditional narrative paradigms she deemed repressive. The process has allowed the daughter to open up an enunciative space for herself through performative utterances: “I’m telling you stories. Trust me.” Finally, the parallel drawn between Mrs Winterson and Mrs Thatcher in the former’s fictional avatars highlights specifically the personal political itinerary of the feminist writer.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Anon. “The Long View: A Q&A with Writer Jeanette Winterson.” Vogue. 5 March 2012. Web. 30 March 2017.
Bollinger Laurel. “Models for Female Loyalty: The Biblical Ruth in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. Vol. 13 No. 2. 1994: 363-380. Print.
Brinks Ellen and Lee Talley. “Unfamiliar Ties: Lesbian Constructions of Home and Family in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories.” Homemaking: Women Writers and the Politics and Poetics of Home. Eds. Catherine Wiley and Fiona R. Barnes. New York and London: Garland Publishing 1996. 145-174. Print.
Brown Kevin and Jack Slater. “100 women: Jeanette Winterson helps children rewrite Cinderella.” BBC News. 22 November 2016. Web. 6 April 2017.
Carter Angela. “Masochism for the Masses.” Shaking A Leg. Collected Journalism and Writings. London: Vintage 2013. 233-239. Print.
Cuming Emily. Housing Class and Gender in Modern British Writing 1880-2012. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2016. Print.
Duncker Patricia. “Jeanette Winterson and the Aftermath of Feminism.” “I’m telling you stories”: Jeanette Winterson and the Politics of Reading. Eds. Helena Grice and Tim Woods. Amsterdam: Rodopi 1998. 77-88. Print.
Eliot T.S. Four Quartets. Collected Poems 1909-1962. London: Faber and Faber 1963. Print.
Felski Rita. Beyond Feminist Aesthetics. Feminist Literature and Social Change. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press 1989. Print.
Gold Tanya. “Page in the Life: Jeanette Winterson.” Telegraph. 28 October 2011. Web. 29 April 2017.
Grice Helena and Tim Woods. “I’m telling you stories”: Jeanette Winterson and the Politics of Reading. Amsterdam: Rodopi 1998. Print.