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Title: The Limitless self: desire and transgression in Jeanette Winterson's "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" and "Written on the Body"
Author: Castaño Méndez, Francesca
Director/Tutor: López, Gemma (López Sánchez)
Moya, Ana
Keywords: Identitat de gènere
Literatura anglesa
Treballs de fi de màster
Gender identity
English literature
Master's theses
Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-. Oranges are not the only fruit
Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-. Written on the body
Issue Date: 17-Feb-2010
Series/Report no: Màster oficial en Construcció i Representació d'Identitats Culturals (CRIC)
Abstract: This study analyzes the ways in which Jeanette Winterson's novels "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" and "Written on the Body" address the exploration of sexual desire and the self. Through the use of characters that have lesbian and [homo-bi] sexual identities, or an ambiguous gender identity (as in "Written on the Body"), Winterson deconstructs narrative conventions and shows how storytelling need not be subordinated to the constraints of the grand narratives. She advocates alternative ways of understanding the sexual, emotional, and intellectual self, and persuasively challenges the constructed binary patterns of patriarchal Western thought. To analyze how identity is constructed in Winterson's "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" and "Written on the Body", I provide a close reading of the novels and examine both works by drawing on several theoretical frameworks including Julia Kristeva's definition of identity in terms of a 'subject-in-process', which contends that the self is never finished and complete but always in the process of becoming. Reference is also made in this work to Catherine Belsey's poststructuralist theories on Desire which are largely based on her interpretation of the work of Lacan and Derrida. Consideration of Judith Butler's Queer Theory is included to examine the ways in which gender roles, lacking any biological basis, are socially constructed and thus artificial and essentialist categories. I also make use of Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault's theories which posit the notion of the reader as co-writer of the text every time a reading is effected. And finally, I borrow from Jean-François Lyotard's theoretical work "The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge" (1979) in which the author proclaims the collapse of the 'grand récits' and the emergence of 'pétit récits' or 'language games'. I conclude my analysis of these two novels by considering Winterson's bold attempt to challenge stereotypes and disrupt hegemonic discourses on gender identity. In her subversion of the conventional limits of narrative, Winterson rejects oppressive definitions of subject identity, and views the self as an unstable entity that relies on the power of stories to construct subjectivity.
Note: Màster Oficial en Construcció i Representació d'Identitats Culturals (CRIC), Dir.: Dra. Gemma López i Dra. Ana Moya
Appears in Collections:Màster Oficial - Construcció i Representació d'Identitats Culturals (CRIC)

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