The Female Gender

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  • Identity
    • Oranges
      • 'Fruit salad, fruit pie … fruited punch'- colourful reworkings of orange
        • Dismantles the fruit based doctrine further: J creates an 'orange peel igloo'
      • Vivid matriarch: owns 'her husband', begets J without male influence (immaculately), neglects J at hospital: 'Why was she leaving me here? I started to cry'
      • Monochrome doctrine of an evangelical matriarch ********* J of Rossetti's 'sweeter than honey' 'fruit globes fair or red', for the orange, 'only fruit'
      • Discards mother's gospel: 'Thrill of excitement', Numerology and Swinburne, not the 'missionary child' but the 'eskimo', a being of her own creation; 'the breeding ground at last'
      • The feminine presence is vital: Elsie Norris teaches about 'poets', 'ludo', 'numerology'
      • J is isolated: in a 'tag match against the Rest of the World'. 'Nasty' entanglements like 'the Breeding Ground' and the 1960s revolution (1967 legalisation of homosexuality)
        • Lancashire 'marred by activities of unpleasant people whose qualities are sad reflections of sadder environments' (Walter Greenwood)
      • Bathos: 'The world service' vs 'the family life of snails'. Pokes humour at orthodoxy- reminder that J writing retrospectively has redesigned her identity
      • Reimagining stories are forms of 'navigating our lives … making sense differently'; 'we are time travellers in our own lives' (Winterson)
        • Bogus Nell Gwynn quote
        • Non realist meta narratives- fluidity of the self
    • The Map Woman
      • 'Map'- 17th century male heroism and colonisation. Patriarchy a 'birthmark', 'tattoo', on her skin
        • Fixed part of her identity: consistent 10 line stanzas show an unrelenting masculine dominance; the map is 'pressing into the bone'
      • The absolutes of feminine identity assembled by The Man
      • Fond nostalgia: 'Market square', 'St Mary's Church', 'Greengate Street' contaminated by the male invasion into 'veins', 'belly'
      • Self construction
        • Conflict of reform and tradition: free verse vs strict length of stanzas
        • 'New skin' from the sacrifice of male expectations being 'sponged', 'scrubbed'. 'Waving goodbye' to these expectations
          • Difficulty of eroding such cemented conventions: 'Itch'. The feminine , 'gloves', 'soft silk scarf' is merely 'chiffon', 'silk' against the male presence
    • The Long Queen
      • Homage to Queen Elizabeth I. Immortal matriarch. Discards the patriarchy. Protector of all females
      • Reclaims abuses of womanhood: pride in 'hags', beautifying tears and gossip


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