Jeanette Winterson’s Literalizing Metaphors in The Passion and Sexing the Cherry
Keywords:Jeanette Winterson, The Passion, Sexing the Cherry, metaphor, re-literalization, parody
The aim of this study is to analyze Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion and Sexing the Cherry in terms of the feminine symbolic the writer creates in her female characters’ narratives through a process of literalizing dead metaphors. Using metaphors in their literal sense, a rhetorical pattern which Regina Barreca calls “metaphor-into-narrative,” is often deemed a subversive tool in women writers’ works to create “laughter”. It shows that women writers often use a metaphor in a conflicting context in their comedic works, and thereby stripping language of its symbolic quality. The present study argues that the marginal subject position of Winterson’s female characters as “misfits” creates a noticeable difference in their discourses and suggests a move from the symbolic order of language to a feminine symbolic. With the examples from The Passion and Sexing the Cherry, the article studies Winterson’s “literalization” to reveal how the writer uses metaphors out of their original contexts not only to create humor but also to destabilize the singular order of language used in historiographic representation by leaving the distinction between what is figurative and what is literal unclear. Winterson’s female characters in The Passion and in Sexing the Cherry are also fitting examples for Bakhtin’s “Fool” with their resistance to join in the discourse of patriarchy and to understand the habitual ways of conceiving the world.
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