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"The Passion" By. Jeanette Winterson Essay

2100 words - 8 pages

The book "The Passion" is a wonderful book that brings with it many themes. Female identity, gender roles, passion, love, gambling, religion and war. Passion is the main topic in this book; it is repeated over and over. The book seemed to be an investigation of the passion that arises in Villanelle and Henri's lives. "Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse" (Winterson, p.68).Villanelle is a strong independent woman who does not fit into the stereotypical role of women. Her character is not going to integrate male values and beliefs that society as a whole has put on women. Villanelle's character openly introduced the theme of feminine desire to the story. Being born with webbed feet is another way that Jeanette Winterson lets the reader know that Villanelle is not going to fit the stereotypical role of women. This is because in the book only the Venetian men have webbed feet. The webbed foot is a symbol of the phallus. Villanelle now has a very masculine trait; this then takes her character away from male and female into an androgynous character.With Villanelle stepping away from a "woman's role" there are still some instances where she is again reminded that women can not get away from the role that men have put them into. The first introduction to this is when Winterson tells the reader that even thought Villanelle was born with webbed feet to a family of fishermen, because she is a woman she can not take on fishing as an occupation. "I couldn't be a dancer, for obvious reasons, and what I would have most liked to have done, worked the boats, was closed to me on account of my sex" (p.53).Villanelle was not the only female that was not allowed to take the job she wanted most. Henri's mother was also shut out of an occupation as well as religion because of her sex. Henri's mother wanted to go and join a convent, but her family decided that they were going to sell her. This is sad because Henri's mother is being treated as an object and not like a person. But during that time women were seen as objects and not as individuals.The next instance of Villanelle being reminded that she could not escape the role that men had assigned to women was when, Villanelle fell madly in love with the queen of spades, and maybe it was not love, but instead passion that then turned into love. The issue of a woman being able to love another woman would mean that Villanelle would almost take on the role of a man. That role would be taking possession of a woman, yet this seemed impossible to Villanelle.I feel that Villanelle finally realized that she could not be with The Queen of Spades when she went to the object of her desire, but the queen of spades husband had returned. "I was about to tap on the window when her husband entered the room, startling her. He kissed her forehead and she smiled. I watched them together and saw more in a moment than I could have pondered in...

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