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Title: Unconventional exhibitions of desire.
Authors: Ng, Hwei Yun.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: Jeanette Winterson’s novels Sexing the Cherry and Written on the Body are used to explore the unconventional exhibitions of desire and love between humans. Characters in the novels, both biologically male and female, display a fluidity of gender and succumb to where their desires lead them. The inexplicable nature of desire can exist in various forms between people. Winterson’s genderless narrator in Written on the Body displays a fluidity of the body that paves the way for fusion with other bodies without the loss of your own individual identity. Likewise, Dog Woman in Sexing the Cherry challenges masculinity with her immense physique and strength, but yet is inherently female. In contrast, physicality may seem like a burden to the imagination, when we see Jordan and city dwellers fantasizing about the lack of gravity and being able to leave your body behind to pursue other desires. Furthermore, love is conveyed through a new form of text - the body. Now that Winterson has found a new piece of text, she has to find a new language to speak of love and settles upon using science, the language of objectivity, to break down the body and the concept of love through the analogy of geographer and archaeologist. Through the use of Hélène Cixous essay on The Laugh of the Medusa, it is evident that Winterson is trying to produce spaces for fluid gender and sexual positioning. Cixous urges women to write or remain suppressed and entrapped in their own bodies. Women have their own private language when they write through their bodies, because it is writing that is inherently female and less easily understood by men. While earlier on the body presented a barrier for the women whom were weakened by their oppression, it is also the same vehicle they need to push through the walls already put up by the body. A brief examination of the Self-Other debate and the Hegelian dialectic explains how the desire to know oneself leads to trying to consume the Other, and how food has been used to achieve this effect in Winterson’s novels. Winterson tries to stir up a potential of change in the reader and her use of fantasy and eroticism creates a comfortable space for androgynous beings to feel safe at the choice of their alternative lifestyles. Thus, her books provide an unfolding of possibilities for society.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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