Sexing The Cherry, A Novel With Words That Are Worth A Thousand Pictures

Sexing the Cherry is a post-modern novel originally published in 1989. Apart from it's less than 200 page count, here are other tempting reasons for why it is a must read for any literature enthusiast!

Perhaps the most striking feature of modern lives is the sheer variety of sensations and perspectives that we encounter in a day. After the pandemic, most of them have shifted into the digital realm, but the variety is still overwhelming.

Early morning, you see memes from one American, one English, one Australian, and five Indian pages on your Instagram feed. Then there will be a photograph of the sunset and pebbles by your newly christened freelancer photographer friend.

Then some quote about motivation or success, another about relationships, and suddenly a gory post about a sinister crime in some corner of the national capital. You start with your classes/work from home. You come across ten kinds of people, with ten kinds of maturity level, personalities, and opinions. And each of them has a vast sensational life of their own.

Then you look for entertainment on various OTT platforms. And you'll find stimulations ranging from Dark to Game of Thrones to The Big Bang Theory in the background while you are working on a mature psychology assignment. And you somehow manage to muster enough mental bandwidth to watch and absorb all of them.

Imagine every kind of mental stimulation you experience in the day is a color. Imagine all those colors splashed on a canvas with the respective force of each thought. Imagine this painting made into the written word and a novel. Now, you are on a scale, continued progress on which might lead you to grasp the beauty of this verbal pastiche - Sexing the Cherry. Mind you, as the movement of time in the novel, that scale is also not linear. 

colour riot; pastiche; sexing the cherry
Source: DNA India

A major chunk of the novel Sexing the Cherry is set in 1649 and the following English Civil War. There are two major characters - Dog Woman and Jordan. And that's pretty much all you can define about them. I would argue they are not people at all. They are two consciousnesses. Those are not limited by time, gender, or society. They are the truth of what it means to be human - that all of us have consciousness. 

The themes of the novel Sexing The Cherry are palpable by any modern reader. There is religion, there is politics, there is gender, feminism, literature, myth, and fantasy.

But the question is - How do you create a poem out of them? How do you create a fictional world out of a world which is itself defined by more fiction than reality? Jeanette Winterson shows us how in Sexing the Cherry. If I could articulate it, I would probably be Winterson myself, because why not? We are all conscious. And in a vision of ultimate equality, no consciousness is more important or superior to another. 

sexing the cherry themes
Source: Wikipedia

The most attractive reason, however, for which I would suggest everyone to read that novel is for its treatment of fairy tales. Winterson uses the backdrop of Twelve Dancing Princesses to reinterpret and sometimes, create twelve new fairy tales. In doing so, she redefines literature, womanhood, gender, relationships, and Story itself. 

You should read the novel if you are interested in poetry, in prose, in feminism, and most importantly, in an emancipated vision of gender and what it means to be a woman. You should read the novel if you before sleeping because it can be a lullaby; in that early morning lethargy because it can be a splash of vitality on your face; and for the evening excitement because partying in the pandemic seems like the plot of a dystopian novel.

Reading Sexing the Cherry is like taking a plunge into a lake of a million colors. There is no way you're coming out without becoming a canvas yourself. And each painting is different.

Literature. Music. Self-improvement. Hit me up any day to rant or sort your thoughts and life!

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