Deconstructing Religion in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are not the Only Fruit: A Metacritical Study

Zaydun Al-Shara


The last few decades have witnessed an interesting new dimension in creative writing as a number of novelists have addressed literary theory in their literary texts, thus acting as creative metacritics. One intriguing writer who addresses theory in her fiction is the British novelist Jeanette Winterson. In this paper I intend to present Winterson as a creative metacritic of Deconstruction in her controversial novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985). My argument is in two parts. First I present Winterson’s treatment of religious texts, both Biblical and Quranic, in a manner that simulates Deconstructive critics when they interpret literary texts. I will show how Winterson uses her narrative to deconstruct religious beliefs and stories in order to open new possibilities of interpretations to replace these religious references. Next, I focus on Winterson’s narrative and her intriguing use of embedded texts that function as interpretative riffs of the deconstructed religious texts. After rejecting the authority of religion and history as reliable sources of truth, she proposes other possibilities of interpretation that seem more realistic and more personal.

Keywords: Metacriticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Narratology, Embedded Texts 

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