"Pride and Prejudice" by Austen and "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" by Winterson.

Essay by madboarderbenCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2003

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The mother characters in both Pride and Prejudice and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit play crucial roles in the forming of the plot of the novels. Both Mrs Bennet and "Louie" try to shape their offspring into what they consider to be model daughters, capable of fulfilling the expectations of their immediate society; and both mothers oppose their daughters' heroic feminism. There are of course differences in the two novels as well, the most obvious being the settings and the periods. Pride and Prejudice is set in the early nineteenth century whilst Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is set in mid twentieth; the first about higher society, the latter about the "lower" working class. Also that Louie wants Jeanette to be a model daughter in their immediate society of the church, and therefore not wanting her to conform with the typical, normal expectations of the time for a girl of her age.

Mrs Bennet, on the other hand, ideally desires her daughters to be "normal" and to conform with the expectations of the time for single women in order to marry them off.

Another major difference is that Mrs Bennet has five biological daughters, whereas Jeanette's mother has adopted her. Jeanette's awareness of her adoption must make the relationship between mother and daughter different, in some ways, from how Mrs Bennet treats and influences her daughters. For example, Jeannette and her mother could be more truthful towards each other with a lesser fear of the other being hurt, as Jeannette already knows the secret that could have distressed her. One interpretation of Winterson's novel is that Jeanette's mother treats her as a mission on behalf of God rather than a child to nurture; "I have always been guided by the Lord". However much evidence there is for this...