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Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985) taps into the increasing popular interest for exploring the ways in which gender and sexual identities are constructed in the mainstream British culture. Often been considered an autobiographical and a bildungsroman, this book has successfully dealt with the protagonist’s self-development from infancy to adulthood and her search for individuality through a series of formative experiences. These experiences, however, encapsulates her struggle against—the oppression of religion of the asphyxiating society where she lives, in her sexual initiation, in her subsequent isolation, and finally in her success to move away from oppression to freedom and independence. Thus this research paper is an attempt to excavate how Winterson has challenged the prescribed set of attitudes of a society (especially the religious ones) towards sexuality through the experiences of a character who experiences her lesbian identity within a closed society that rejects same-sex love and tendencies. Moreover, this paper also aims to redirect our focus towards the breaking down of traditional clear-cut boundaries with respect to the artificial construction of gender and identity.
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