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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Author Jeanette Winterson
Type of work Novel
Bildungsroman; post-modern novel
Time and place written England, 1983–1984
Date of first publication 1985
Publisher Pandora Press
Point of View The narrator speaks in the first person when recounting her life, in the third person when telling mythic stories, and occasionally uses the second person to directly address the reader.
Tone The tone varies according to the age of the narrator; often the narrator uses a wry tone when explaining her earlier life but uses a more melancholy tense when relating her later years. The tone of the inserted story sequences often is comedic.
Tense Present tense usually, with some history given in the past
Setting (time) The 1960s
Setting (place) An unnamed village in Northern England
Major conflict There is a conflict between Jeanette sexual identity and her congregation, family, and initially even her self.
Rising action Jeanette doubts the quality of men; Jeanette falls in love with Melanie; Jeanette sleeps with Melanie.
Climax Jeanette is confronted about Melanie; Jeanette refuses to repent; Jeanette repents due to hunger but does not deny her idea that her self is different.
Falling Action Jeanette starts a relationship with Katy; Jeanette does not see her lesbian love and her love for God as incongruous; Jeanette is caught with Katy; Jeanette accepts her identity and chooses instead to leave the church and her society.
Themes All stories are made up; The mythic journey; The world is not made up of binary oppositions
Motifs Oranges; The difference between God and his servants; Death and Dying
Symbols Pink mackintosh (raincoat); Shedach, Meshach, Abednego; The stone pebble
Foreshadowing Gypsy's prediction; Two women who run the paper store Jeanette's perceived "specialness;" Mother's early rejection of lesbians Jeanette's disagreement with the idea of perfection
Ace your assignments with our guide to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit!