Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

by: Jeanette Winterson

Chapter 6: Joshua

Jeanette slips into another feverish dream where she visualizes a ransacked Forbidden City. Stone walls and monuments surround the city. A stone can also kill a warrior in this land. Jeanette thinks that one has to choose oneself or the wall instead of falling off, like Humpty Dumpty who tried to sit on it. Jeanette thinks that with a chalk circle one could travel past the walls unprotected, but is not sure. She realizes that something inside her is changed.

Jeanette recovers her senses as her mother is passing her a bowl of oranges. Jeanette rips open an orange and sees her orange demon sitting in its middle. He tells her that she has made her choice and that there is no going back. He throws her a brown pebble and disappears.

During the summer that follows, Jeanette's life returns to normal, which includes her being deeply involved in the church. Melanie and Miss Jewsbury both have gone away. No one mentions the incident. The society organizes a large mission retreat in Blackpool.

Jeanette preaches at the retreat to great success. Late one night, their singing and praying disturbs some male neighbors from the nearby boarding houses. The men long for quiet so that they can sleep. Members of the congregation suggest that they will go to hell for their protests, but Jeanette defuses the situation by ending the retreat for the evening.

Jeanette soon feels drawn to Katy, a new convert from Blackpool. After returning home, Katy helps Jeanette by typing up her sermons. The Society's attempted musical collaboration with the Salvation Army band fails because the society women are too unmusical. Jeanette comforts them after this rejection. Jeanette leads a Bible study class and preaches frequently. Melanie returns at Christmas to visit. Jeanette is surprised to see her and refuses to talk or walk with her on several occasions. At their last meeting on a bus, Melanie offers Jeanette an orange, but Jeanette declines to take it. Later that evening, Jeanette sees Katy at church and Katy tells her to come spend the weekend in her caravan.

Here the narrative shifts into a description of a secret walled in garden on the banks of the Euphrates. The garden contains every type of plant in the world. An orange tree sits in its center next to a time dial. The fruit of the tree causes joy for some and pain for others. To eat of the fruit of the garden makes the eater long for other things. One you leave the walled garden you will never return.