In Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges are not the Only Fruit”, we are put into the first-person perspective of the author’s semi-autobiographical narrator, a reflection of Winterson’s own past. Much like the Bible’s actual chapter, ‘Genesis’ in Winterson’s novel is the first chapter which not only establishes the characters within the novel, but also gives a religious background towards the story that is to follow.
Early on within the chapter, us as readers are given a couple of lists that determine the foundations of Jeanette’s childhood and life. In the Bible, we have a list, or rather, a series of days in which God himself supposedly created the universe, another list that created the foundation of the world. This also goes further one more step, with the establishment on the first page of “Oranges” being the definite list of what is good and bad. In Genesis of the Bible, the establishment of good and bad is shown through the Devil (snake) and God in the Garden of Eden.
Having said this, the book, and especially the chapter, lends itself to establish the contrast between Jeanette’s self/beliefs and the biblical scripture. Thus, by taking the title of the chapter of the Bible and creating a parallel structure of Jeanette’s discovery of individualism against Christianity as opposed towards the Bible’s goal of self-discovery through religion, Winterson utilises her chapter Genesis as an introduction of how “Oranges” is quite the opposite of religious devotion. Instead, her dismissal of the Bible and religion in the chapter establish motifs of how she tries to integrate her contrasting personal life with the religion bestowed upon her.