Allegory in 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit'

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How does Winterson’s use of fairy-tale/allegory add to our understanding of ‘Oranges are Not the only Fruit’ as a whole?

‘Oranges are Not the Only Fruit’ is a novel which often uses allegory to create depth and meaning to the novel by blurring the line between fact and fiction. The use of allegory adds to our understanding of ‘Oranges’ as a whole in many different ways. Allegories are used within ‘Oranges are not the Only Fruit’ to fragment the text; the fragmentation is a key characteristic of post-modernist works. This use of fragmentations helps the reader to look deeper into the myths and fairytales to better understand the novel’s main plot and to highlight Winterson’s post-modernist ideas. The allegories have an element of ambiguity, causing the reader to question their preconceptions about the novel. They also help illustrate Jeanette’s own emotions and aspirations the struggles she faces within the main plot as they act as a form of escapism from her mother and the crippling control the church has over her life. The fairytales are also used to foreshadow future events within the novel. An example of this is in Numbers. The story of the Winter Palace focuses on a group of “elect” people who are dining in a palace, and although they are shown to be extremely uncomfortable, especially the woman, they “have always been this way.” Outside, a group of “rebels” wait to storm the palace, showing a revolt against conformity. This story could relate to the events and feelings that are beginning to shape Jeanette within the main plot. The stale, passive “elect” represent the life she has led for many years within the church, protected by her beliefs and the beliefs of those around her but unable to develop or grow. The “rebels” represent her exploration of her sexuality and the new emotions it brings, which may cause her to lose much of what has shaped her for many years but will also allow her to become the person she longs to be. However, some critics may say...
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