• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7

Compare and contrast the presentation of sex and sexuality in The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the presentation of sex and sexuality in The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson The theme of sex and sexuality contributes to the important ideas of a struggle in the novels The Color Purple and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Sex is presented through gender and the physical act, and sexual orientation is emphasised for sexuality. The novels chart the development of the protagonists, Celie and Jeanette, through their growing sexuality and their positions as women in society. Their struggles, however, are different. Celie's predicament is that of being a woman in a patriarchal society, whereas Jeanette's is living with her sexuality in a strict, fundamentalist, Christian household and church community. These are presented through attitudes of society, and through other characters. Celie's father and her husband both abuse her violently and sexually in The Color Purple. Both men contribute significantly to Celie's initial powerlessness to fight back. In Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, however, Jeanette's mother and the church are antagonists in her fight for her homosexuality. Both of the authors, Alice Walker and Jeanette Winterson, use similar techniques to suggest the importance of sex and sexuality and to demonstrate how they progress throughout the novels. One of the main methods used to present the theme of sex and sexuality are the use of other characters, especially their dialogue. Both writers use the male gender to symbolise authority. Walker uses Celie's father, Fonso, in the first few letters to illustrate sexual and violent abuse towards women. ...read more.

Middle

Further imagery of the metaphor "I had an octopus inside of me" also illustrates their love for each other. Winterson uses this imagery to demonstrate the innocence of their relationship, and by doing this it allows the reader to see the natural and pure process that Jeanette undergoes in discovering who she is. Both writers confirm their protagonists' sexualities. Both writers use imagery derived from the titles of their novels to present the theme of sex and sexuality. In particular the use of colours purple and orange are important motifs throughout the novels. The meanings of the motifs change as the novels progress, and the authors have done this to chart the development of the protagonists. The very first mention of Purple is in letter 12, where Celie cannot find any clothing of that colour in the store. She sees purple as a colour that Shug "would wear", and so one to be valued, but it is unattainable as "us look an look and no purple". This symbolises a woman who is strong and proud to be so, but Celie cannot imagine herself to be such a woman. In comparison, it seems that the colour orange is portrayed through the fruit of orange. In the chapter of Exodus, Jeanette realises that she cannot hear and so writes a note to her mother, whom pays no attention. Jeanette simply "took an orange and went to bed". The symbolic importance of this is that the fruit is a replacement or a substitute of a maternal figure who is understanding in all areas, including Jeanette's sexuality. ...read more.

Conclusion

The pebble appears for the second time as the raven Abednego throws it to Winnet Stonejar to keep her safe and she does this by "clutching it tightly". Winnet represents Jeanette as she too holds the pebble in moments of crisis. The pebble in this allegory becomes a talisman that evokes the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, in which stones were used as a guide to home. The raven also coughs "a rough brown pebble into her hand" and explains that it is his heart of stone that "grew thick with sorrow, and finally set" because he "chose to stay". He clarifies that "it will remind you". This symbolises that Jeanette has a chance to escape as the pebble will guide her towards home, which is her true self and ultimately her sexual identity. Walker and Winterson have used similar techniques to represent sex and sexuality, but they focus on slightly different aspects of the theme. Walker concentrates on patriarchy and so raises gender issues. Celie's journey is to overcome these issues or attitudes in her society and eventually find love, prior to Shug's tenderness. Although she has experienced the physical act of sex, it has been meaningless because it was made without love. Winterson, however, is condemning homophobic ideology and she explains that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit "illustrates by example that what the church calls love is actually psychosis and it dares to suggest that what makes life difficult for homosexuals is not their perversity but other people's". Jeanette experiences this as her journey through the novel was to leave the church and become a proud homosexual. Words: 2,798 ?? ?? ?? ?? Nicole Aquilina Page | 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Caravaggio has found a gramophone and he puts on music to dance with Hana. While they celebrate, Kip hears an explosion. He lies and tells them that it was not the explosion of a mine, but when he gets a chance, he runs down to the site of the explosion.

  2. Compare and contrast the writers presentation of the consequences of obsessive love in: Othello, ...

    He compares Desdemona's 'whiter skin of hers' than snow. By his calmness the audience realises that he's figured out what to do, rather than before where he didn't know what to do and was therefore in an emotional state, Othello says he 'would not kill thy unprepared spirit', he does

  1. Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of 'Frankenstein' and 'The Picture ...

    Shelley shows him as considering himself the 'murderer or William, of Justine, and of Clerval' via his 'murderous machinations'29. However, Shelley never depicts him as repentant for his transgressions towards the monster: he claims himself to be 'more miserable than man ever was before'30 and certainly repents the pain that

  2. Existentialism seen in The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz and The Stranger ...

    of destiny and different philosophical approaches to life, being especially intrigued by how humanity and an increasing greed for material and abstract objects moves humanity itself farther away from God. He gradually shifted his focus to the inner workings of the human mind and what impact and effects it had

  1. Explore the presentation of the individual against society in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's ...

    engaging and charming narrator -whilst his dialogue is sometimes confusing, his passion becomes apparent, and despite his crimes his love of refined things such as classical music ( Beethoven in particular) lend an air of innocence to his prose. Similarly, when McMurphy enters the ward he seems driven by his

  2. Compare and contrast the presentation of the villain in Othello, Wuthering Heights and The ...

    The house which he is brought to also gives the reader a picture of stormy bad weather, this use of pathetic fallacy creates a dangerous atmosphere around Heathcliff which is suited to his persona as a villain. Bronte reveals to the reader two sides to his character.

  1. Exploring Connections Between Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldons Letters to Alice

    an âaccomplished womanâ would âadd something more substantial to the improvement of her mind by extensive readingâ. The diction of âimprovementâ suggests that individuals may be introduced to new and enlightening ideas that would better them as a whole. It is literature that Weldon feels would cause tension between the

  2. Discuss the presentation of disturbed minds in Hamlet, The Bell Jar and Oranges are ...

    onto the desk' is a metaphor for how she feels inside her own mind: hollow and empty. When she gets the scholarship to a New York College, she struggles to fit in with the other competition winners. This results in her often feeling isolated and self-contained.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work