Postmodern Realism in Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry

Mustafa Güneş

One of the most significant qualities that differentiate realist novelists from modernist ones or postmodernist novels from those of modernist writers is their peculiar answers to the question of what literary works should represent. Many postmodernist novels do not inimically discard the idea of the novel as a genre of realistic representation despite the fact that what they depict in terms of period, order, scale, shape, or framework differs a lot from that of realist novelists because what they see as realism is composed of the “bricolage” of multiple perceptions, truths and beliefs that would alternate their forms with the introduction of every new vantage point. Winterson’s novel Sexing the Cherry was a popular postmodernist novel that was studied extensively within feminist theories, and its metafictional qualities were underscored in many studies. However, one of the striking qualities of it is its overt use of realistic and factual elements and the grounding of the plot and characterization on these elements. Hence, the goal of this study is to analyse the abovementioned novel in detail in order to determine to what extent the realism suggested in the novel could be seen as an exciting end in itself, and to what extent it is constructed as a subversion of certain grand narratives and as a denotation of new forms of representation and unrealistic construction.

Keywords: Contemporary novel, realism, Jeanette Winterson, feminism, metafictional