On the surface of the novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, may appear to be about a young lady trying to figure out who she is whilst in a constrained community. However this is not the whole story. Within the novel there are constant struggles with finding who you are, social class and the broad concept of fitting in. Winterson does this well through her use of symbols and motifs which are as one example an orange. Even the sub-plots within the novel such as her mother possibly having a lesbian relationship in the past create a suspicious vibe through out the novel, and makes the reader second guess everything the mother has said previously and in the future of the novel. The Oranges in the novel are not just used to represent the idea of "lesbian" but they are also a way for the mother to represent her love for the daughter through giving her oranges, however another way at looking at the significance of the oranges is as the mother using them as a phallic symbol... Possibly the mother is subconsciously using the orange to represent breasts, thus pushing and forcing lesbianism upon the central character, without knowing she is doing it. The reason she is in fact doing this could easily be explained through the way that the main characters mother is suspected to be a "cupboard lesbian" along with many other character throughout the novel. Jeanette Winterson claims that this novel is not a biography, however it seems very similar to the life she lived. This could be explained due to the authors explanation that stories are different once they are told.
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