ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT
ELSIE VS MOTHER
In a story of a young girl coming of age and finding her sexuality in a very religious community, it is key to have a female figure that plays a key role for the character. A mother should play the key role but what happens when this role is confused with a very spiritual role? Where will a young girl turn to when her life goes against the rules society has set for her? Jeanette has lived a sheltered life with no influence on her except for the church. Her mother is a strict Christian with a deep resentment for things and people not within her fold. Being brought up in a society where going against the norm is a sin. A society that shakes its head at acts of individualism and shuns those they can not convert to their way of thinking. In effect, a cult based on a long -standing text, the bible. In this cult though, Jeanette finds a kindred spirit that doesn't fit the mold set by this religious society.
Elsie is an older woman who believes in God and all of his wonders. "'Listen to what the Lord has done for me this week.' She needed eggs, the Lord sent them. She had a bout of colic, the Lord took it away." (Winterson, p. 23). Even for her strong belief in God and all of His glories she is considered an eccentric. She practices numerology, creates unusual crafts and is outspoken. This personality is what attracts Jeanette. Elsie is so unlike her mother and the other women of the congregation and this fact pulls Jeanette closer to Elsie. Jeanette looks to Elsie for guidance and an understanding ear that doesn't judge her harshly. On the other hand Jeanette's mother is an extreme personality. This personality is not seen as eccentric, it is seen as a trait that she is a true believer and follower of the Lords word. Religion is her way of controlling things in an otherwise confusing world. Within this circle of believers she can control the people around her with out anyone...
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