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Winterson uses capitalisations in certain instances, (‘Lost Chances’ (Winterson 112) instead of ‘lost chances’, ‘Fundamental Mistake’ (112) instead of ‘fundamental mistake’) The slight alteration of words, just the mere capitalization of it, changes the way things are being interpreted.The capitalising of ‘Lost Chances’ signifies naming, and more weight and importance are put on the subject just by changing the word form.The very first page of the text in Oranges shows the power of framing, where Louie’s (Jeanette’s mother) reality is related to readers as a dichotomy of good and evil.
Language is not ‘neutral or impersonal’ (Bakhtin 1992), the self as subject becomes tabula rasa, where the thoughts and intentions of others and the media are projected onto it.
Because language precedes the author, one can posit that there is ‘no originality in authorship but constant representation in regard to writing.’ (Chen 6) Thus the meaning of text cannot be regarded as pure or neutral as it constitutes layers of intentions; the meaning of text ‘resides in the shared corpus of the authors who came before him/her’ (Chen 6).
Linguistic discourse, born out of a community or academic institute, is well intentioned in ‘re-establishing the cultural values that belonged to the society that produced them.’ (Bove 50) Discourse ‘marked differences and established identities’ and ‘sets the limits of certain kinds of language use.’ Lacan postulates a reality that we can never access without text as a medium.
Trapped as we are in the Symbolic Order, language holds influence in the construction of selfhood.
Winterson posits a self that is constructed and contextualized by a linguistic discourse that encodes a hyperreal influence of culture in a post-modern world.
Having an existence constructed by text may seem limiting at first (due to Bove’s assertion of discourses’ ‘regulative’ function) , but it is in fact, a liberating one.It was one of the better modules that I’ve taken, and I’ve been meaning for a quiet space to keep this online (so that I wouldn’t lose it in my computer) so that I wouldn’t forget some of the concepts taught in class.Feel free to read it if you have read the book before; it wouldn’t be meaningful to you if you haven’t., Winterson challenges the realist assumption of the mimetic model of text as a mere reflection of reality and aesthetic form.From the rewriting of text, (Winterson 75) where classic literature is manipulated to suit the intentions of Louie (Jeanette’s mother) in shaping Jeanette’s identity, to living in a community where heterosexuality was the imposed normalcy (See: ‘(Winterson 92)), Jeanette’s selfhood is seen to be constructed based on the layers of narrative and intentions being projected onto her by her mother and the fundamentalist Christian discourse community.This opens up the possibility of selves as ‘artefacts of hyper reality’ (Gergen 122).The very utility of discourse is defined to be ‘functional and regulative’, as it helps ‘constitute and organise an entire field of knowledge about language.’ (Bove 51) Yet, despite its seemingly regulative and rigid nature, discourse is ultimately fluid and malleable.As substantiated by Foucault in ‘the unity of a discourse is based not so much on the permanence and uniqueness of an object as on the space in which various objects emerge and are continuously transformed.’(Foucault 32) Discourse has moved past its aesthetic, benign nature, and with its subversive ‘political’ (Bove 51) underpinnings, it is a constructivist model that aids in selfhood construction.Textual discourse hence seem to encode the hyperreal influence of culture and these are determinant in one’s selfhood construction.Not only is language non-neutral, it has the ability to structure our consciousness.At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves.Innovative, punchy and tender, "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.