In this essay I examine the auto fictive self in Jeanette Wintersons Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I do this through a close reading of the novel using Mieke Bals narratological terms;narrator, story, fabula, time and order.
These narratological terms have been merged together with central themes of the book. I look at the readers understanding of the novel, the relation between fairytale and realism, symbols, intertextuality, the mother-daughter relationship and silences and I analyze these themes in their relation to autofiction and the auto fictive self.
Gemma Lopez Seductions and Narratives has been a key reference, mainly her theories on self-creation in narratives, and the construction of the self, trough language. The narrative is the place where the self can transgress and reshape, which gives the narrative a subversive power. I analyze this presumed power, and look at how the story shapes an opportunity for the subject to see itself. Language is an important factor, and I discuss the contradiction in how we can use the language at the same time as we are formed by it.
This essay has a queer theoretic ground, and elements such as transgression, queer leakages, and binary structures are studied and discussed throughout the essay. Deconstruction is a vital term in the creation of the self through language but the deconstructive viewpoint, in opposition to its aim, sometimes has a tendency to get absolute in its view of the relativity of things. I try to avoid reducing the auto fictive self into one single factor.
I argue on a diverse and multiple approach when understanding the auto fictive self. I see the auto fictive self in Oranges as constituted by a number of factors, such as the encounter of autobiography and fiction, the readers assumptions, a genre or a classification, a free space for the reader and the author, and a way for the subject to see itself and its narrative: a place where the self can reshape and “the alternative story” can be made visible – filled with the words that cannot be spoken.
The multiplicity of factors is an asset rather than a limitation, and what I have found in my search for the auto fictive self in Oranges is this multiplicity.
2012. , 33 p.